Being an HR to small and medium sized enterprises has some very unique challenges, especially in the aspect of answering complaints unique to SMEs. These complaints can be hard to address as more often than not, SME employees compare their experience to articles they read online, often times written with large companies as its benchmark. The need to answer to these issues is very important. The more transparent and action-oriented you are, the better you can quiet these things down, raising the satisfaction level of your human capital.
Here are some very common complaints by SME employees. There is a big chance you have heard of these before.
“My salary is just too low for my job”
As HR you know that pay is derived from multiple factors. Most employees think their wages are haphazardly studied. The best way to address this complaint is to educate employees what goes behind wage determination. Factors such as experience, tenure, and overall job knowledge can affect wage.
You can also ask probing questions, like where did the employee get the figure to say his current pay is not enough. There are many online sources that often provide median pay for a specific job in a specific industry, which often times does not necessarily give people an accurate figure to base their salary on.
“I feel choked in my professional capacities”
This complaint is all too common and this points to a bigger management issue – micromanagement.
First, before you go after your co-managers (the ones managing your “micromanaged” complainant), you have to understand that your hiring process play a huge role in solving this issue. By telling managers to trust their people more, you are actually saying, “trust the people we hire because our hiring process only get competent people on board”.
It is best you talk directly to the micromanagers. The worst thing about this issue is that most people who feel “choked” are the most competent ones. If this is not addressed ASAP, the company can lose talent it needs to grow the business. It is however important to bear in mind that you need to convince managers that this practice is detrimental in nurturing a dynamic and empowered workforce. One-time conversation with the managers will never be enough. Constant feedback is the the key until the practice is finally eradicated in the ranks.
“I think my supervisor prefer a workmate over me”
Favoritism is as tricky as micromanagement especially if the one being accused of playing favorites is the CEO or even directors and owners. The best way to go around this problem is to communicate it to the respondent of the complaint. This conversation must be objective, dissecting the problem from a distance thereby giving you the space to expose the grave consequences of having favorites in the company.
While organization leaders know very well the effects of favoritism, being directly reminded about this complaint is often enough for them to reconsider how they are handling their people.
There is another approach to control or eradicate favoritism in the organization – revisit the policies and strengthen the culture that can minimize the chances of favoritism. Encouraging open communication between leaders and their people can prevent escalation of favoritism complaints. Policies on promotions, hiring, benefits and even bonuses need to be cleared out so that people can learn to trust the process more and not resort to baseless accusations of favoritism. Policies must also be reviewed regularly by top management and the HR. This sends out the message that the organization is committed to improve office systems and processes.
“This company simply doesn’t have enough resources”
As an SME, your people just do not get everything they want. If they compare the resources available to huge companies to what are available to them in an SME, you can be sure they will end up complaining. There is no use of reasoning with people at this level. What you can do is to make sure that whatever limited resources you have, the organization can use it as much as it needs to. Where do you start?
- Be quick in acting on requests for facilities or equipment. Often times it is not that the company cannot afford it, but there is a long waiting time for its availability, making people feel they are deprived of necessary tools to do their jobs best.
- Always be on the look-out for future equipment needs in the business. Is your printer/copier getting longer lines from people wanting to have things photocopied? Then order in advance a dedicated photocopier, so that when the need arises your request is already in the purchase pipeline.
- If you have limited facilities like a delivery van or a training room, you can have a booking process that people can follow to secure a room or a van. This way everything is systematic – nobody complains that they are deprived of these basic facilities.
HR has an undeniable huge role in making sure that people in the organization are happy and fulfilled with work. In today’s heavy competition for talent, retention is as important as acquisition. As complaints arise, HR must have the answers and the will to act. Often times this is the best way to continually engage with the workforce, empowering them to be productive assets for the business.