When an employee approaches a manager or business owner with a complaint, there is a right way and a wrong way to address their concern. After receiving an employee complaint, it’s always best to respond quickly and appropriately, even if you don’t have an actual solution to the problem right away.
Follow these basic steps to investigate an employee complaint and find a solution that works for all parties involved.
Investigate the complaint promptly. Determine who should conduct the investigation. The person should be objective and without bias in the outcome. Sometimes, a third party is the best option. (The Miami Payroll Center’s HR team is always available to help conduct investigations.)
Get the details. Listen and take detailed notes. Ask the complainant specific, objective questions such as:
- When and where did the incident occur?
- Are there any witnesses?
- Is there any evidence of the situation?
If the complainant’s issue is with a manager or employee, interview that person as well and ask for the same details. Determine each person’s credibility and supporting evidence for conflicting statements.
Keep it confidential. When dealing with an employee issue, it’s best to limit discussion of the matter, until all relevant information is gathered and a solution can be put in place. Ask anyone involved to keep any discussions confidential as well. This can also help prevent office gossip and miscommunication.
Resolve the complaint. Determine if any laws were broken, company policies violated and if any disciplinary action is needed. Make the necessary corrections or adjustments. Communicate steps taken to the parties involved. Maintain records of the investigation and steps taken to remedy the situation. Address the matter with other employees and managers only when it’s absolutely necessary to prevent the matter from recurring.
Finally and most importantly, follow up. Check in with the complainant and other parties involved every so often until you are certain the matter has been resolved and no longer poses a disruption to your workplace.