How to Handle Employee Complaints

One of the most common concerns we hear from managers is how to handle employee complaints. We prefer manhandling them, but our clients have HR departments that frown upon this practice.

What’s an effective way to handle employee complaints? I’ll let you in on a secret to stop the nagging, the babysitting, the micro managing, the stress, the plotting their demise in 2 easy steps. That’s really all it takes. Potentially a dash of Valium, but again, frowned upon.

2 Steps to Stop Employee Complaints:

  1. Validate their Concern (notice I called it “concern”, takes some of the sting away)
  2. Ask an Effective Question

That’s it! Simple. I’ll demonstrate.

Employee: “It’s taking the new guy forever to get up to speed. I’m sick of having to tell him how to do everything!”

Manager: “Shut it down you big baby!” Oh, wait…frowned upon.

  1. Validate: “It can be challenging to learn all of our processes, and frustrating teaching something that seems so easy to you.”
  2. Effective Question: “What one thing can you do to help alleviate some of this frustration while helping him get up to speed?” Alternative Effective Question: “You’re a pro at these processes. What helped you learn when you were new? How can you apply that approach when you’re teaching him?”

That’s an example of how to put the 2 Step Process to work. By validating the complaint, you are decreasing the defensiveness of the employee. By asking an effective question, you are empowering the employee to use their problem solving and critical thinking skills.

What are some common employee complaints you hear? Want some help? Leave a comment and we will put this 2 Step Process to work for you!