Should Your Company Hire an Ombudsman to Rein in the Complaining?

OmbudsmanAn Oom-buds-what? An Ombudsman is a person who listens to a group's complaints, processes them, then helps to figure out a way that an organization can solve problems.


Quite often there is no solution and this must be conveyed to the group. This is not an easy job, but at least the group is getting their answer. Usually the group just wants to understand the reasoning behind the answer and make sure that they approve of the decision making process. Other times the group may not like the answer and may want a different response. It’s up to the Ombudsman to try to solve the issue to the best of his/her ability.


Wikipedia's description serves as a good reason why every company could use an Ombudsman:


One particularly important function is to pick up "new things" -- that is, issues new to the organization. This is particularly important if the "new thing" is "disruptive" in the sense of requiring the organization to review and possibly improve its policies, procedures and/or structures.”


I’ve talked about the benefits of hiring a Work Happy Manager, and an Ombudsman would be just as beneficial. The Work Happy Manager could be proactive in creating an enjoyable environment and the Ombudsman could be reactive in making sure that the employees are happy with the decisions that are taking place within the organization.


An Ombudsman could help a company see mistakes from the employees' point of view. Let's say a company tries to restructure the organization, and perhaps an employee sees a potential problem, but they are afraid to tell management. Employees are more likely to see a different type of problem because they are closer to the day to day operations. For instance they might recognize that a group of customers could become neglected by the restructuring. This employee could voice his opinion to the Ombudsman without fear of being fired or discovered for his dissenting views.


One of the most important roles of an Ombudsman is to be completely private about all matters. This is crucial to gaining trust between both management and their employees.


I know that I would love to have an Ombudsman at my company. How about you?


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Image courtesy of b_d_solis

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