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How to handle the top 4 employee complaints to HR

Posted by Shivali Anand

December 16, 2021    |     5-minute read (982 words)

If you own a business and employ people, you will almost certainly hear complaints from time to time. The complaints might vary from small annoyances to significant difficulties. It is up to you to figure out whether a complaint is valid and how to handle it.

On the other hand, having disgruntled staff may affect your business and make things uncomfortable at work. When employees are dissatisfied, their productivity falls, which may harm your company's bottom line.

Take a look at the four most common employee complaints and what you can do to address them.

Complaint No. 1 – Low salary

According to a 2021 study by Payscale, a very high percentage of employees believe they are underpaid. If this appears to be a widespread complaint among your employees, it may be time to develop a solid pay structure that helps them avoid feeling shortchanged. You can guarantee you're paying your employees what they're worth by doing some study on the compensation strategy while keeping your business goals in mind.

Complaint No. 2 – Unappealing benefits

Workplace perks heavily influence employee happiness, so if what you provide isn't up to pace, you may hear a lot of moaning. This might include vacation or PTO rules to ensure that employees get the required time off.

Another thing to think about is the health advantages. If your health plans provide limited coverage and high deductibles, you may discover that your employees cut corners on healthcare, increasing the number of days they miss work due to illness.

Aim to provide a good retirement plan as well. If your business is too small to justify the costs of a 401(k), a SIMPLE IRA plan can be a viable option.

Complaint No. 3 – Ineffective management

Your company's management team may make or break your employees' experience, so if it's falling short in any way, you need to address it right away. Communication is a crucial problem on which you might concentrate your efforts. If your company's executives don't communicate well, everyone will suffer. In this scenario, instituting a policy requiring managers to organize team meetings regularly to keep everyone on the same page could be a brilliant idea.

Simultaneously, encourage managers to be receptive to criticism and realistic in their expectations to avoid situations where their employees are overworked.

Complaint No. 4 – Lack of professional development

One of an individual's worst feelings is being stuck in a dead-end job. To discourage your employees from feeling that way, create a professional development plan that allows them to continue learning and progressing. Allowing them to try out new assignments/projects, offering financial assistance by financing a new course or connecting them with mentors are all examples of this.

Additional complaints

  • Favoritism

    : It is sure to irritate co-workers when an employee receives unjustified preferential treatment at work. Favoritism by a boss may quickly erode employee morale, whether it's an unfair promotion, a boost in compensation or a better work schedule.
  • Uncertainty about one's job

    : Job security has become a rare commodity due to globalization, downsizing, outsourcing, and the pressure to reach expectations. Employees who don't feel appreciated by their employers are more likely to change jobs every two to three years. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, between the ages of 18 and 52, baby boomers have an average of 12.3 professions.
  • Overworked:

    If employees believe they are overworked, it may negatively influence your organization. Insomnia, irritation, exhaustion, weight gain and various other physical and mental problems can result from this mood.
  • Micromanagement:

    Micromanaging sends the impression that you don't trust your colleagues, which might make it difficult for them to accomplish their duties effectively.
  • Underappreciation:

    When employees feel uninspired and undervalued at work, the stress they experience has a direct impact on their productivity and, eventually, the bottom line of your company.

How to deal with employee dissatisfaction

Consider the following suggestions for dealing with employee complaints:
  • Pay serious attention to the complaint: 

    Even if it appears to be a minor issue, pay attention so that the employee feels heard. People don't necessarily want action taken; they simply want to be heard.
  • Ask questions: 

    Ask as many questions as you need regarding the complaint throughout the session to verify accuracy and avoid misinterpretations and discrepancies. Examine the complaint to make sure you've grasped it correctly.
  • Make a written complaint: 

    Request that the complainant submits the matter in writing (by email) describing the details of the complaint, including names, addresses, dates, times, witnesses and repercussions, among other things. This way, if something happens as a result of the complaint, there will be a written record to refer to for all parties involved (including you).
  • Obtain all necessary documents: 

    If there are any files, records or other proof points relevant to the complaint, gather them to ensure you have all of the evidence.
  • Ensure that action is taken:

    Thank the employee for their time and information, and assure them (ideally through email) that you will follow up, but don't make any additional promises or remarks (including what you plan to do or when).
  • Request that the complainant maintains their complaint to themselves: 

    People like gossiping, but when it comes to a formal complaint, everyone involved, including yourself, must keep the matter confidential.
  • Act promptly:

    Time is of the essence when dealing with employee complaints. The longer you wait to fix them, the more likely another issue will arise, resulting in a new complaint.
  • Keep the issue in the back of your mind:

    This will assist you in identifying any trends.
  • Avoid bad conduct at all costs: 

    Making jokes, exhibiting contempt, making the complaint public, taking sides or gossiping are all examples of this.
Being an employer makes you responsible for ensuring that your employees are satisfied. You risk losing them if you don't. Consequently, try to figure out what challenges your employees are facing and prepare for them.

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