Every business has its problems. Some of them are minor, like a broken coffee maker. Others can cause major problems within your company, like an abusive manager or a business process that costs thousands more than an alternative.

As much as you may be in touch with your business, there is no way you are going to be able to notice every problem that your employees see. You cannot be everywhere at once, and on occasion employees are going to see and/or experience issues that you may not have noticed. That’s why it’s so important to give your employees an outlet to help them share their concerns.

An Available Manager Isn’t Enough

Many companies simply ask employees to share their problems with their supervisor, who will then make a decision about what needs to be changed. But this option doesn’t usually work, because:

  • Employees do not want to complain publicly about the business for fear of being fired.
  • Employees may have a problem with the manager they are supposed to report to.
  • Employees may be worried about repercussions or embarrassed of the issue.

When you ask an employee to report a problem, and you do not give them a 100% anonymous outlet, you’re very unlikely to get honest answers. You’re also more likely to become defensive, blaming the employee for their beliefs rather than looking at the problem and seeing if it deserves a solution. That’s why your business should consider an employee hotline.

Benefits of an Employee Hotline

By setting up an anonymous employee hotline, you give every employee the opportunity to talk about the problems they see in the office. A dedicated employee hotline allows you to spot troublemakers, stop theft, prevent discrimination, improve productivity and more.

Hotlines should:

  • Be Anonymous – Do not ask for employee information. They can share names, but they shouldn’t be expected to share any information that identifies them unless they want to.
  • Be Recorded – Every complaint should be considered important. Theft and violence are the biggest issues, but even problems with a manager or difficulties with a coworker may be causing a loss of productivity and an increase in turnover.
  • Be Investigated – Put someone impartial or removed from the situation in charge of investigation. Remember that those in positions of power may also be defensive, so consider having a dedicated staff member that is not a part of these teams investigate to ensure accuracy and reduce bias.

Once you’ve investigated, have a plan in place. Remember that there may be a problem even if the complaint itself was unfounded. For example, perhaps a coworker complains that another coworker is not working hard, and you find that they are working hard and the complaint is false. This may still indicate you need to make changes. For example, you can create public performance metrics that prove productivity to all employees, so that each employee knows how much they’re contributing.

Businesses that listen to employees, treat every employee with respect, and respond to any complaints are the ones that have higher satisfaction and less turnover (not to mention fewer lawsuits). Consider creating an employee complaint line so that you’re able to encourage more reporting and improve your workplace.