Staff can feel:
- that a complaint is a personal criticism or attack
- that a complaint is unjustified
- afraid of being blamed or punished for a complaint
- disempowered to resolve minor issues
- unsupported in resolving issues and complaints
Negative emotions can be experienced more intensely when a complaint involves:
- complex or sensitive issues
- allegations against other staff members
Service providers should establish mechanisms and processes that support staff to deal with complaints by:
- supporting a blame-free, positive and resolution-focused complaint culture
- having complaint handling policies and procedures
- complainants behaving in unreasonable ways
- Staff involved in handling complaints should have reassurance that escalating a complaint within the service will not result in punishment from the service provider.
4. Follow Up
Service providers can improve staff skills and confidence in complaint handling by:
- providing debriefing and counselling opportunities
- establishing regular forums for staff to share strategies.
- Enhance your skills by inviting guest speakers and accessing training on communication, conflict resolution and mediation
- asking experienced staff to mentor and support new staff
- providing training and professional development opportunities.