Designing an Effective Workplace Dispute Resolution Program

An excellent article from Strategic HR Lawyer about the importance of design in administering workplace dispute resolution (DR) programs contains the following insights:

"The design of the program is critical to its success...The most effective programs are those that focus not only on legal compliance and litigation avoidance, but also focus on fairness. In addition, organizational support and the availability of professional resources to assist employees will promote this goal. Some of the systems characteristics that are important include:

-Availability of expert resources to aid employees in
the processing of their grievances
-Level of input employees have into the process
-Impartiality or degree of independence from management
of the person making the actual decision
-Timeliness and speed of the process
-Consistency with which complaints are resolved
-Degree of top management and line management support
of the program
-Extent to which the process fits the organizational culture...

Organizational research clearly demonstrates that the most effective DR programs are those that promote fairness and objectivity. Often, employees are less concerned about the outcome than they are about the process itself. Thus, if employees view the process as one that is fair and equitable, they are less likely to doubt it or ultimately challenge its findings.

The following are some suggested concepts to discuss when designing a DR program:

-Are the individuals who are charged with administering
the program properly trained?
-Are the individuals charged with administering the program
-Is the outcome of the process clearly explained to the complainant?
-Is there an appeal mechanism that is administered consistently and fairly and more than merely a “rubber
stamp” for management?
-Are delineated timelines realistic and followed consistently?
-Are employees involved in the administration of the system?
-How impartial or independent of management is the
fact finder in any investigation or review of a complaint?
-How impartial or independent of management is any
-Does the process itself fit within the organization’s
-Does top management support the program, or does it
exercise discretion to resolve matters outside of the program in a seemingly arbitrary manner?

Legal standards of compliance for DR programs do not necessarily effectively address all of these due process issues. The gap between passing legal muster and one that
addresses these due process issues is often the hallmark of a successful program versus a merely adequate program."

No comments: