How often has a member of staff come to you with a relatively small problem and you have swept it under the proverbial carpet and hoped it would sort itself?
What if it doesn’t and your inaction results in a disgruntled employee and the need for weeks of investigation that hits the effectiveness and morale of the whole company?
To the employee that ‘small problem’ was important enough to speak to you about. To them it may be something that has been affecting them for a while, and now they have got to the stage that they can no longer deal with the situation. They have passed the problem to someone they feel should sort it. How are they going to feel if a few weeks later nothing has been done, the problem is still occurring, or has got worse, and they have to go and see you again? They gave you the responsibility for resolving their problem, yet you did nothing.
We all run busy companies and a seemingly small incident on the scope of things may lack the importance to your work load. A lack of time or the urgency of other matters takes priority over this in your eyes. It’s only a small thing – it will soon blow over – but small things often manifest into much larger problems. It is much better and easier to resolve a small problem, than to have to deal with a situation that has resulted in the word ‘Tribunal’ being muttered.
Often a small incident or concern may just be a case of an informal word with the person involved. If the incident has been witnessed, or involved others, investigate it. This is much better done when it has just happened and things are fresh in peoples mind, and hearsay has not blurred the facts. If the situation is serious enough to warrant disciplinary action then ensure the correct procedures are used. If you have written procedures make sure they are followed. If a situation gets more serious and you have not followed the expected procedures you will have a lot more work trying to back track on what needs to be done, and if it does go to tribunal costs will be automatically increased.
So deal with the small incident or grievance when it is manageable – when it is current – when it may only take a small piece of your time – when it resolves the problem swiftly and everyone can get back to their busy jobs, satisfied that in their company problems are taken seriously and dealt with promptly.