This is why David believes changes in the complaints mechanism are not so significant in themselves, but that changes in behaviour are if it means we can have all managers treating all staff the way they would wish to be treated themselves. Of course, that's not to say all managers are not good at this because certainly the majority of our leaders are great at what they do and how they lead their teams.
Fairness and transparency are two very important elements of an effective complaints mechanism. Therefore, the staff complaints management review was undertaken from the staff's perspective. Following the recommendations of a Workgroup on Complaints Management consisting of front-line staff and members of Staff Group Consultative Committees, and after further staff consultations, the HRD has designed a mechanism that addresses the concerns of staff, particularly those on the front line.
So what new features have been added to the complaint and appeal procedures to make the entire process more transparent and fair? Here are two:
In many cases, the complainant and respondent (the staff member being complained against) will meet more than one investigator during investigation meetings. Many staff members feel uneasy about this "one against many" scenario, but they no longer need to. Under the enhanced procedures, staff members will be allowed to bring a colleague as a support person to the investigation meetings with them, so they will feel more at ease and be able to present their case freely.
People sometimes feel less confident and comfortable when speaking in a formal, if not intimidating, environment. Therefore, the enhanced procedures require the investigator or panel to provide an environment which encourages all participants to express their views fully.
As mentioned, the staff complaint and appeal procedures were reviewed in the light of the recommendations of the Workgroup on Complaints Management. We also asked Ms Yu Mei-lee, one of its members and a laundry worker at United Christian Hospital, about her views concerning the new features of the procedures. "Many colleagues are nervous about meetings with supervisors; so much so that they can't express their views fully. Therefore, a lot of them wish someone could accompany them to investigation or appeal meetings," she notes.
The enhanced procedures affect everyone in the HA. David sincerely hopes all our colleagues will read the circular to learn more about them. It can be found at ha.home (Thematic View > Circulars/Memo > HAHO Circular > Human Resources Circulars> 8/2010). If you have any enquiries, you can also call Mr Michael Ho, Human Resources Manager(Staff Relations), on 2300 6770.