Whenever an employee files a complaint with the HR department, the issue at hand should be taken seriously. Failure to properly address the matter, whether intentional or not, can result in the employee feeling demoralized. Employees who do not feel heard may turn to the internet or media outlets and air their grievances publicly.
You may run the risk of losing the employee to your competitors or being the receiving party of a lawsuit. None of these possible outcomes is favorable, and all of them stand the chance to damage your company’s reputation and cost you expensive monetary consequences in the form of penalties or fines while decreasing overall employee morale.
For these reasons and more, it is imperative that you make an effort to reduce the likelihood of your employees making complaints about the workplace. This all starts with understanding the types of complaints that employees often make. Below are four of the most common.
1. A lack of clarity regarding job responsibilities
According to a recent Gallup report, “only 60% of workers can strongly agree that they know what is expected of them at work. When accountability and expectations are moving targets, employees can become exhausted just trying to figure out what people want from them.”
In other words, employees need to have a clear and defined understanding of what their job duties entail so that they know what they must do on the job.
2. Problems pertaining to payment
While certain federal and state requirements speak to how payroll must be handled via wage and hour labor laws, employee complaints about pay remain rampant. In fact, in 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor distributed more than $9.1 million to over 1,600 workers who were owed wages. In that situation, 1,600 employees received $1,393 in back wages.
Common issues with employee pay often manifest in the following ways:
- Violations in terms of minimum wage or overtime pay.
- Employers pay employees less than the market rate for the position.
- Lower pay based on gender, race or ethnicity.
- Mistakes resulting from payroll errors during data entry.
To the best of their abilities, employers should prioritize the adoption of equitable and compliant pay practices while doing all that they can to reduce the likelihood of payroll mistakes.
3. Work environments that feel hostile
By definition, a hostile work environment is a workplace that is disruptive to the point where it impacts the ability of employees to properly perform their work duties. Hostile behavior is typically illegal when it is discriminatory in nature, intense, pervasive, frequent and unwelcomed.
To give you an idea of what a hostile work environment may look like, here are several signs to watch out for:
- Toxic relationships.
- Employees who do not feel psychologically safe at work.
A hostile work environment is one of the main reasons employees pay HR a visit. HR should resolve the complaints in an objective and fair manner and take steps to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
4. Performance reviews that seem unfair
In a 2019 study, a shocking 85% of employees stated that they would consider quitting their jobs if they were to receive a performance review that they perceived as unfair. Now, in many cases, employees have the wherewithal to challenge an unfair review and request that HR revise the review they were given rather than resorting to quitting right away, but not all employees understand that they can do this.
Regardless, the best way to mitigate the chances of employees receiving unfair reviews is for managers to provide their employees with accurate, fact-based and unbiased feedback on a reasonable and regular basis. Doing so can help employers justify their formal performance reviews, and employees will be more likely to accept the feedback they receive as well.