Culture a key ingredient to workplace complaints handling
iHR Australia’s Managing Director, Stephen Bell, has suggested that many organisations may not be in a position to meet new expectations in relation to handling complaints. According to Stephen, “the recent politicisation of issues within high profile organisations is most disappointing but not surprising. For whatever reason, employees have not utilised an internal complaints handling process (assuming there was one).”
There are many reasons why individuals decide not to come forward with allegations of discrimination, harassment and bullying. These may include a lack of confidence in the system, there is no system, the system is too complex, the system is hard to access, there has been no education in regard to the system, fear of the repercussions of reporting a matter or even that the complaint itself is not credible. Whatever it may be that prevents an individual from making a complaint at the time of an alleged incident, the risk to an organisation from a brand, financial and cultural perspective is significant!
Culture and process are equally important
Case study example: An example of where a young staff member had concerns in relation to sexual harassment but refused to report the matter to their or Human Resource department was because of a ‘joke email’. the staff member received a chain email from other employees, including their manager, with a cartoon making a subtly suggestive joke about millennials being oversensitive and politically correct. The manager even added their own comment “haha” as they have sent it on.
The key point made by Stephen is that “reviews of complaints handling approaches are often limited to a desktop audit by a legal expert. This is not enough.”
“It is essential that HR professionals evaluate the effectiveness of the process and the potential workplace cultural obstructions preventing people from using it.”
iHR Australia provides a Complaints Handling service which provides support from an experienced team of workplace consultants to ensure your organisations complaints handling process is at an appropriate level. For immediate advice, please call our team on 1300 884 687.