Original Date: 07/21/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Complaint Report and Employee Q&A
Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility developed and implemented a tool which provides information on issues that concern employees and require management’s attention to resolve as they arise. This management tool is also used to identify potential problems and solve them before they become employee problems.
Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility (EBQP) was the subject of a union-organizing campaign. It was during this campaign that a number of important employee issues were first realized. In response, the company compiled these issues into a database, and each issue was assigned to a responsible party/member of management for resolution. As of the election date, approximately 85% of the issues were resolved and the company subsequently prevailed. However, realizing the importance of not only listening to employees but also quickly responding to them, EBQP developed and maintains an employee complaint database to document complaints. By updating and maintaining the database and communicating with employees, and regularly acting upon complaints, it is a dynamic employee relations tool.
To proactively obtain employee issue information for investigation and resolution, a number of programs, procedures, and practices were developed and implemented. An employee complaint database was developed to track employee complaints on a number of data points to identify, track, and proactively resolve “hot” issues or potential problem areas. These data points include ethnicity, type of complaint (e.g., harassment, application of policies), shift, superintendent, and gender. Because the combined practices of listening and responding were important, the data point of turn-around time was tracked to determine timeliness of resolution, and if problematic, evaluate opportunities for greater efficiency. Data is primarily obtained from meetings with employees who have a complaint (defined as requiring more than one day of research to resolve). As an additional tool for analysis and communication, an Employee Q&A database was developed. This database is largely an outgrowth of the one developed during the recent organizing campaign. As of mid-2003, many issues are in the database with approximately 95% of them resolved.
Information is obtained through a formal walk-through schedule that was purposely developed and implemented for the Employee Relations staff. Prior “floor time” was erratic and generally at the mercy of project work. To overcome these difficulties, a schedule was developed that ensured equal floor time across all locations and shifts. This schedule provides 13 hours of floor time per week. While on the floor, Employee Relations representatives obtain and document employee issues for resolution. If any of these issues rise to the complaint level, they are included on the complaint report; otherwise, the issue is incorporated into the Employee Q&A database. The database is updated and maintained on a quarterly basis. Employee issues have been resolved in the following ways: Development of new policies to ensure consistency in application
Evaluation and purchase of new equipment
Implementation of new benefit programs (e.g., salary/hourly pension benefit)
Communication (e.g., development of seniority database and placement on central computer drive for immediate access)
Although EBQP has an open-door policy, the management found it difficult to keep track of each complaint. Complaints were sometimes not dealt with properly and were not responded to in reasonable time. The Complaint Report allows everyone concerned to be kept up-to-date as to when the complaint was made and by whom, the individuals involved, the nature of the complaint, whether or not an investigation was done and by whom, any action/resolution that resulted, and the length of time it took to resolve the complaint.
This documentation is a report card for the Employee Relations Department. The information included in the report also helps track possible trends with complaints. For example, the periodic analysis of these reports reveals major sources and locations of problems, types of concerns, and whether or not follow-up investigations were done in a timely manner. The report is a valuable management tool to ensure that complaints are dealt with professionally and consistently. The information generated is presented directly to the responsible superintendent for tracking problem issues and focusing on where improvements need to be made.
Communication is a key component of these analytical programs. Communication of the complaint report results is achieved through the development of comprehensive management reports. An executive summary was developed for upper management to communicate and address global areas of concern. Individual meetings are held with superintendents to review the report and communicate meaning and potential resolution strategies at the mid- organization level. Employee Q&A results are sent through multiple channels to ensure maximum customer delivery. Employee communication on major policy changes or new programs is achieved through team meetings which are hosted and presented by management.
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