Wednesday, July 17, 2013



A good grievance redressal mechanism is a sine qua non of a well-designed and functional Human Resource (HR) Management System.

In order to be successful, a grievance redressal system must possess seven attributes:



It must be a procedurally simple mechanism which is easy to use by every employee across the board.

It is best to have a simple form or an online drop down menu where an employee can effortlessly submit a grievance or complaint as he wishes to offline or online or even by SMS callback.

As one of my bosses used to say about grievance management:

“Don’t ask people to pour their hearts out and write long-winded sob-stories and essays – just give them a simple form to fill.”

Yes, a well-designed form can encapsulate the problem more objectively and avoid communications mismatches.


All employees must have easy access to the mechanism and it should be quick and simple to lodge a grievance.

In earlier days, before the IT Boom and prior to the advent of Internet, there used to be cards or forms which could be filled up and put in easily accessible drop boxes which were located all over the workplace, canteens and shop-floors.

Nowadays, it can be an online system must be easily accessible 24/7 to all employees from their workplace and their homes as well.

If an employee has a grievance she (or he) must know where and how to submit it and the procedure must be fast and easy.


The grievance redressal mechanism must be effective.

The system must work (and be seen to work) and there must be proper monitoring, follow-up and feedback to the employees and all concerned about the status and processing of the complaint.

The grievance redressal procedure must ensure that it is made unambiguously and clearly evident to all employees that there is an honest and transparent effort to resolve all grievances in a fair and just manner.


The redressal of grievances and resolution of complaints must be done promptly and speedily in an efficient manner within stipulated time frames so that employees develop faith in the system.

Remember – justice delayed is justice denied.


The grievance redressal mechanism must be user-friendly and sensitive to the special needs of the employees.

It must be gender sensitized, culturally consonant and in harmony with the prevailing environment.

Most importantly, it must be modern and technologically savvy and in sync with contemporary times.

Whatever the nature of the grievance or complaint, it must not be trivialized.

Grievances must be treated with utmost empathy and this fact must be evident to all the employees.

There must constant two-way communication between the senior management and the complainant. 

Sometimes a proactive approach is highly appreciated by employees as it nips grievances in the bud.

An impression must be made on employees that all grievances are taken seriously, treated sympathetically and handled with genuine earnestness with the objective of resolving them amicably, speedily and to the entire satisfaction of all concerned.


An employee must be able to submit a complaint or grievance for redressal without fear of retribution from higher management.

The employee must have no fear of reprisal from those who he is complaining against even if they are his seniors.

Checks and balances must be put in place in order to ensure that there is absolutely no victimization or harassment of the employee who is submitting a grievance or making a complaint and whistle-blowers must be protected.

The system must be absolutely non-punitive and there must not be the slightest perception or even a shred of doubt in the mind of the employees that they will be “punished” for making a complaint.


The grievance redressal mechanism must function without fear or favour.

There must be total transparency in the procedure and justice must be done and justice must also seen to be done in a free and fair manner. 

A good Human Resource Management System is Just Fair and Transparent.

While the 7 points given above are in the context of Human Resource Management Systems, I feel that all these 7 aspects are equally applicable to Grievance Handling Systems pertaining to Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Consumer Affairs, Public Relations, Client Service Organizations and the Service Industry.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013. All Rights Reserved

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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