Every company has policies that inspire employees to huddle around the water cooler and grumble amongst themselves. These employee complaints are an inescapable aspect of the modern work environment. While some complaints can reveal a fatal flaw in the company’s infrastructure, other complaints could simply be a minority picking at a policy that they personally don’t like. Below we will focus on how business owners can determine if a policy should be changed.
Step 1: Determine how wide spread the complaint is
Before you make any changes you should determine, how many of your employees have begun grumbling about the issue. If only a few people are regularly complaining about the issue, the policy might not be an immediate concern. On the other hand, if dissatisfaction has spread to a large pool of your employees, you should not allow the dissatisfaction to fester. Why? Dissatisfied employees become unhappy employees; and unhappy employees can cripple a company’s ability to grow.
Step 2: Check with the more level headed in the office
Most employees would like more benefits, higher pay, and less restrictive policies, so you might want to seek out a few members of staff that you trust will give you a better sense of the overall feeling towards these policies. These employees should be grounded enough in the reality of the workforce to have a good sense of what your company is capable of supplying. If you find that even these employees are dissatisfied, you might want to think about making a few changes to company policy.
Step 3: Evaluate Policy Based on the Norm
If after steps 1 and 2 you are still unsure if the problem policy should be changed, do some research to determine how the policy lines up with the norm for your industry, region, or the country as a whole. If you’re employee’s grumble that you’re not paying them enough to survive, you can search the minimum, median, and maximum wage paid nationally and regionally for the job they perform.
Just remember that setting up a policy to reflect the norm doesn’t necessarily make it the right move ethically or financially for your company. For a company to attract and retain top talent, you must be able to boast that you offer more lucrative benefits and better policies than the other companies in your industry. A Seattle Based company, Gravity Payments, just cemented themselves as the place to work for the long-term by increasing the minimum wage to $70,000 a year. By skyrocketing past the norm, I doubt any of these lucky employees are going anywhere anytime soon.
Step 4: Can You Afford to Fix the Problem?
As a startup, you won’t be able to make such a generous move to retain your top talent, but you can make small changes to place your company on a trajectory to be able to give back to your employees. These changes can allow you to hold onto any of the top talent that might be getting a little antsy about the current state of the policies. Here are a few minor steps you can take to set yourself on this path:
Make it clear that when the company is financially stable, you plan to implement better benefit and pay policies.
Implement a few policies that demonstrates you’re willing to give back to your employees while not straining the company financially.
Have managers directly address problems and complaints as they arise to prevent them from spreading. If the problem arises from chronic complainers, managers should address the problem in an individual meeting. At a certain point, individuals need to assess if they can live with policies that a company cannot or will not change.
Now is the time to address complaints about policies that have been cycling around your company. Failure to address complaints up-front can lead to lost productivity that can hinder the progress of your company. Before owners of startups implement changes, they should evaluate if the policy really needs to change. There is no reason to invest time in modifying a policy, if it does not need to be fixed.