Employee feedback prompts updates to grievance policy

The University's approved updates to the current grievance policy, which follows the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) concept, will take effect July 1.

"Employees spoke and their concerns were heard," says Sharon Williams, interim employee relations manager. In an effort to minimize additional emotional stress for both parties, the University adjusted its current grievance policy. The changes to the policy bring a more user-friendly, nonadversarial approach to the process.

The revamped dispute resolution policy will provide those employees experiencing a grievance -- a concern, complaint or issue with their employment or working conditions -- the opportunity to improve the situation at hand and the ability to move forward in a positive manner. The new policy allows opportunity for additional resources and training for both parties as well.

Human Resources employees who have been trained in workplace alternative dispute resolution will work as mediators between the two parties and facilitate an informal resolution process. This allows for one-on-one conversations for both parties to share their perspective of the situation from which the mediators can provide resolution recommendations.

"Incorporating the mediators into the University's grievance policy opens doors for more effective, efficient communication between the parties," says Trent Klingerman, interim vice president for human resources. "We want the new process to be as painless as possible."

If it is ever necessary to go beyond the recommendations made by the mediator, the updated process allows the parties to discuss their situations with a three-member panel of their peers. The panel has the ability to ask questions and dig deeper into the situation. This step helps ensure that the recommendation made to the vice president for human resources for the final outcome is fair.

"We hope that employees faced with grievance issues find the new process to be less time-consuming, less judicial and more solutions-driven," Williams says. "The goal is to position ourselves in a place to better help both parties find successful outcomes."

 

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