Should employees be allowed to anonymously gripe?
There is a growing trend in the workplace that could open up some unintended cans of worms.
With social media and technology offering immediacy for nearly everything, some employers are following by offering tools for employees to give immediate, and often anonymous, feedback about fellow co-workers and the office.
"Companies believe that they are offering them, often times, a better way to deal with their gripes," said Barbara Pachter, business etiquette expert and author of "The Power of Positive Confrontation."
Pachter said workers should have a mechanism for their feedback, and that there is a place for anonymity if they fear for their safety, or if it is an ethical issue. But, overall, she believes employees should work out their conflicts face-to-face.
"If they're having difficulty with another employee, I really think it's important that they go to talk to the person and try to work it out," Pachter explained. "Going around people's back and tattling on them, like people do in school, isn't the way to build teamwork and employee relationships."
She said that the practice could lead to backstabbing between co-workers and even invoke fear in the workplace since people do not know when they are about to be ambushed.
"But, if I know I'm working with a bunch of people and, if something happens, I know we're going to talk about it and work it out, I feel a lot more comfortable in that environment," she said.
Pachter said another potential issue from the immediacy is that the griping worker may submit the feedback in the heat of the moment or before knowing all of the facts.
"There's lots of problems if people don't stop to think about what they want to say, if they have what you call a 'gripe' with someone else," Pachter said.
She said most people would be willing to work out a solution if they are approached in a polite and respectful manner.