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Workplace complaints

Top tips to avoid and resolve disputes

Posted: April 17, 2024

Gone are the days when workplace conflicts were swept under the rug or feared by employees as a career-ending move. The dynamics of employee complaints and allegations have shifted dramatically in modern workplaces.

Today, complaints are more frequent, sometimes driven by genuine concerns and at other times used as a weapon against colleagues. With this changing environment comes the critical need for effective strategies to manage workplace disputes. Here are three essential tips for navigating workplace complaints successfully:

1. Invest in robust policies
The foundation of managing workplace complaints starts with having robust dispute resolution and grievance policies. While many organisations have such policies in place, the effectiveness of these policies often falls short due to being generic or outdated. Investing in tailored policies that address the specific needs and challenges of your workplace can make a significant difference.

Key points:
• Ensure policies are comprehensive and aligned with current employment laws and regulations.
• Provide clear guidelines on how complaints will be handled, emphasizing fairness and confidentiality.
• Include mechanisms for alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, alongside formal investigation processes.


2. Choose the right approach: Mediation vs. Investigation
When faced with a workplace complaint, it’s crucial to assess the situation carefully and choose the most appropriate resolution method. While investigations are necessary for factual disputes, they can sometimes exacerbate tensions and lead to unintended consequences, especially if the allegations are exaggerated or fabricated.

Key points:
• Consider mediation as an alternative to investigations for resolving interpersonal conflicts or misunderstandings.
• Mediation promotes open dialogue and collaboration, allowing parties to find mutually acceptable solutions without the adversarial nature of formal investigations.
• Seek advice from experienced workplace practitioners to determine the best approach based on the nature and severity of the complaint.


3. Focus on building a culture of trust and positive resolution
Beyond policies and procedures, fostering a culture of trust and positive conflict resolution is essential in preventing and managing workplace complaints effectively.

Key points:

  • Encourage open communication and constructive feedback within teams.
    • Provide training on conflict resolution and effective communication skills to employees and managers.
    • Demonstrate leadership commitment to fairness and transparency in handling complaints.


In today's complex and fast-paced workplaces, navigating complaints and disputes requires a proactive and strategic approach. By investing in tailored policies, choosing the right resolution methods, and fostering a culture of trust and collaboration, organisations can effectively manage workplace complaints while safeguarding employee morale and productivity.

Remember, seeking guidance from experienced workplace practitioners can provide invaluable insights and solutions tailored to your specific business needs.

Ultimately, a proactive approach to resolving workplace issues contributes to a healthier, more productive work environment where employees feel valued and respected.