New Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling & How it Affects Your Talent Acquisition Efforts

StaffOnDemand Blog

A new programme, the Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling was launched on 20 October 2017 by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).  It outlines the need for employers to set up mechanisms to deal with complaints of discrimination and that these procedures should be clearly communicated to employees. The standard is also complemented with a Grievance Handling Handbook.  Since the launch, over 220 employers, employing in total approximately 245,000 workers, have adopted the standard on grievance handling.  

Is it compulsory to adopt this scheme?

While it is voluntary to adopt this scheme, companies which register to adopt the standard will have their names listed on the website of the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, and be able to use the “Tripartite Standards” logo in their job advertisements and marketing material.

Defining Grievance

A grievance is loosely defined in the handbook as “any discontent or feeling of unfairness”, and “is more deep-rooted than complaints as the person seek appropriate remedial action on the cause of grievance”.

Can a job candidate’s grievance cost you?

While it may seem intuitive that grievance amongst employees arising as part and parcel of the daily grind at the workplace could adversely affect the productivity and growth of the organization, very few HR executives think about the impact of grievances of job candidates on the organization’s bottom line, much less measure it. One company did, and the results are sobering – A poor candidate experience can hurt the organization brand image and have very tangible, negative impact on your product sales and even hurt your talent pipeline by deterring talents from considering opportunities at the organization.

Graeme Johnson, the former Head of Resourcing at the British cable and mobile provider Virgin Media, came across a scathing post-interview survey of a job candidate that was subjected to a poor recruitment experience, where she met with grumpy personnel and was brusquely rejected by a rude interviewer that cut her off mid-way of her interview. The job candidate, scarred by the experience, wrote that she would be cancelling her subscription with Virgin Media in favour of their competitor, and would have her sister do the same.

Wondering if there were more of such disgruntled candidates, who, post an abysmal recruitment experience, would be detractors of the business and its products, Graeme digged into the data. Upon further research, the analytics team attempted to determine whether rejected candidates who said they’d switch providers actually did so within a month—and found that 6% did.  That 6%, entailed a staggering amount of £4.4 million (or approximately S$7.4 million) per year in lost revenue. The calculations were a conservative one, since the numbers did not take into account how candidates were probably telling their friends and family who are also Virgin Media customers about the bad experience (thereby discouraging them from further subscription) and the true revenue loss could be 3-4 times that of the original estimate.

How should we handle grievance in recruitment?

Preventive measures are often better than cures – In line with this philosophy, it would be far better for HR teams to turn the question around and focus instead on how to craft an excellent candidate experience for interested jobseekers, rather than having to deal with aggrieved candidates. Here at StaffOnDemand, we offer 3 simple steps on how HR teams can foster a positive experience for candidates, thereby creating a strong talent pipeline in the process and add to, rather than detract from, the brand image of the organization:

Step 1: Make the application process easy for candidates

It is taken for granted that candidates, in the interest of seeking employment, would put in the effort to furnish personal information about themselves in the application form. That said, for experienced hires, this could be a daunting process, since the process of filling up an application form can be rather tedious, especially if the form is a needlessly long one. We recommend keeping the application form to the bare minimum beyond the hygiene factors of contact details and the CV attachment, and to separately request for more details only if the candidate is subsequently shortlisted.  

Step 2: Keeping candidates engaged & informed

By breaking up the information gathering process through reducing the application form requirements, the inertia and effort required by the candidate to merely ‘get through the door’ is greatly reduced, and the attrition rate (in terms of applications that are completed) is improved. This process also caters for allowing candidates to furnish more details once they are shortlisted, which encourages a continued form of engagement with the candidate during the recruitment process.  

We often underscore the importance of continuous candidate engagement throughout the recruitment process, and this spans across the shortlisting, interview scheduling, and even placement or rejection phase.

For this very reason, on each and every job listing, we enable jobseekers to seek clarifications with the hiring manager by dropping their query via a contact form. Having a channel to address any concerns with regards to the opportunity is a progressive step forward in candidate engagement, and while it is the onus of the hiring manager to reply to the query, we would recommend hiring teams to look into these queries and see if they should include more clarification in the job description to pre-emptively address these queries for similar roles in the future.

It would be helpful to also acknowledge receipt of candidates’ application – A simple email acknowledging that the team has received the resume / application can put to rest a lot of the fears that the applicant may have (e.g. that the application was eschewed by the system, and that it never saw the light of day, much less the hiring team!) during their application process. This can be easily done within your StaffOnDemand account, and let us know @ if you are not sure how to.  

Step 3 : Hiring Teams Training

A large part of the candidate recruitment experience involves the interaction with the hiring team members. It is therefore imperative that the HR team ensures that hiring teams / interviewers are adequately trained to handle job candidates professionally, and, in their own way, impress upon the candidate the work culture of the firm.


Credit Sources:

Bad Candidate Experience Cost Virgin Media $5M Annually – Here is How They Turned That Around
Keenan Steiner, LinkedIn Business, 15 March 2017

Grievance Handling Handbook
Tripartite Guidelines for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP)

Grievance Handling
Tripartite Guidelines for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP)