Australian studies suggests that although the majority of people (8 in 10) know what their workplace complaint handling system is – less than one in five staff feel confident to access it.
One of the real challenges for organisations is to have a Complaints Handling System that provides the appropriate levels of support, encourages early reporting and is practical and responsive.
iHR Australia’s workplace dispute resolution expert, Paula Bruce, says the main reasons staff lack the confidence to make a complaint is lack of trust, concerns relating to confidentiality, and the fear of victimisation.
“What people hear from previous complainants is often a primary source of knowledge about grievance processes. This often leads to a lack of confidence in a good outcome.”
“Managers are not necessarily always good role models. Managers often lack training and skills to handle workplace behaviour challenges and complaints.”
Other preventative elements include:
- Limited knowledge of the conflict management process and other workplace policies
- Inconsistent approaches
- A perception that people are not held to account for inappropriate behaviour
How to increase the confidence in your Complaints Handling System
Paula says knowing there is a victim centred approach and having people ask if they are ok instills confidence. “And having a manager who displays skill in dispute resolution who they can talk to confidentially in the first instance.”
“Having a positive workplace culture where leaders role model organisational values and where inappropriate behaviour is clearly not tolerated.”
If you feel your staff are lacking the confidence to report an incident, your leaders would benefit from learning new skills to manage complaints or you simply don’t feel equipped or to deal with a complex complaint – give us a call for a confidential chat on 1300 399 192.