February 13, 2019

The Other Side of the Coin: Guidance for Supporting Those on the Receiving End of Complaints

Chris Gill and Carolyn Hirst have published a guide that aims to help organisations provide better support to employees who have been subject to a complaint: Being Complained About – Good Practice Principles and Guidelines. Gill is a socio-legal academic at the University of Glasgow and Hirst is a professional mediator at Hirstworks and an independent administrative justice researcher.
Their research shows that being complained about often significantly affect employees’ health, well-being, and work practice. Gill and Hirst found:

  • 71% of people complained about report their work practice being affected by a complaint
  • 67.2% of people complained about report their health and well-being being affected
  • 61.2% of people complained about report their attitude to service users being affected

As Organizational Ombuds are certainly aware, complaints processes and support programs have tended to focus on the concerns of the complainants. needs of those complaining. Gill and Hirst set out four principles for dealing with complaints about employees – fairness, confidentiality, transparency, and efficiency. They also suggest guidelines for organisations to use in developing and updating policies. The guidance includes a set of accompanying notes and summarizes the research evidence underpinning the guidelines. (Being Complained About; UK Administrative Justice Institute.)

The guidelines have been developed by Carolyn Hirst and Chris Gill and can be accessed for free, but the authors request acknowledgement. They would also like to be notified if people find the guidance useful or implemented (email chris.gill [at] glasgow.ac.uk). 

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