Why a complaints handling system is so much more than managing risk


Most organisations have a workplace complaint handling system in place, but what happens if you actually have to use it? Will it be effective? Will it go beyond just managing risk?

An effective workplace complaint handling system should be much more than just simply ticking the legal risk box.

iHR Australia’s workplace dispute resolution expert, Paula Bruce, says there are three key elements that are necessary to achieve a robust and effective complaint handling system.

1. Encourage early reporting

“Your system needs to inspire early intervention to resolve disputes as quickly as possible e.g. mediation, meeting, facilitation.”

2. Be practical, supportive and responsive

People need to know where to go and how to report. There must be a clear process that operates safely with flexibly and transparency. As appropriate, offering a choice of options for a resolution can be helpful.”

3. Maintain confidentiality

“Defining confidentiality in each case is important because maintaining privacy displays respect.”


A Complaint Handling System is particularly important for all organisations because it:

  • Manages legal risk – “Legal considerations, policy and values need to be addressed in professional reports, that produce findings of fact.”
  • Protects your brand – It’s important for an organisation to know about any issues If They’re not known or covered up, they can get out of hand (for example, the Brittany Higgins case) – and your brand could suffer irreparable damage.
  • Culture and engagement – An effective process that supports staff will encourage transparency, it will boost morale and staff retention.


Advice, information and support is always available

HR Consulting support – If you’re unsure, simply make a call to find out the best way to manage complaints. Call 1300 221 469

Audit Your SystemIt is essential to evaluate and assess the effectiveness of your complaints handling process. iHR Australia can provide an independent review of your complaints management system.

Training – iHR Australia offers a masterclass in complaints management. As well as programs that support staff who are required to run investigations and leaders who are at the critical point of complaints management.