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Help for small firms

Managing a complaint at work: A step-by-step guide

Real-life situation

Managing a complaint at work - Useful tools: Real-life situation

A new employee is complaining she can't meet deadlines because she is being given more work than her colleagues.

You try to reassure her - she's not been with your company long and it's early days yet. You explain that the person who did her job previously did the same amount of work on time and you are sure she will speed up with experience. However, she is unconvinced by your explanation and is still unhappy.

Two days later an email from her, setting out her grievance to you in writing, lands in your in-box.

What do you do next?

You tried to reassure her with a quiet word, but obviously she didn't believe you and thinks you are overloading her.

As your new employee has now gone down the formal path, you have little choice but to follow it through. You write to her, inviting her to a private meeting to discuss the matter and tell her she can be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union representative.

At the meeting you carefully listen to what she has to say - and the colleague accompanying her makes an illuminating point. She is working on a different and older computer to her predecessor. She has been complaining that the computer is slow.

You suggest adjourning the meeting so the situation over her computer can be checked out. The meeting can be reconvened as soon as possible once her computer has been checked.

It turns out her computer is an older model than her predecessor's and without the latest software. You agree to replace her computer with a new one, with the new software, and train her how to use it. You'll then review the situation in a month.

You confirm the agreement in writing, but add that she can still appeal in a month if she feels the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved. She accepts the way forward.

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