Building an effective complaint process requires more than scheduling periodic venting sessions or hanging a suggestion box. Instead, encourage staff to register their complaints in a way you can constructively use them with the following five principles:
- Make complaining part of the job. Explain to staff that you can't be everywhere at once, so you rely on them to point out problem areas.
- Designate complaint times. Whether as part of a regular staff meeting or in a separate gathering, keep the conversation focused on finding solutions, not placing blame.
- Prohibit griping during other meetings. Direct staff to use the designated complaint times; otherwise, you may find other meetings falling apart.
- Encourage constructive criticism during one-to-one sessions. Since some staffers may find it too uncomfortable to criticize in front of the group, make time to draw out their comments in private.
- Train staffers to focus on behaviors, not individuals. When team members conflict, guide the group to discuss undesirable behaviors rather than personalities.