Team Up with Your Employment Agency to Resolve Workplace Issues

By Brian Hochhalter, Pacific Northwest Area Manager

By and large, the vast majority of contract positions I’ve successfully filled for my clients in my 30 years of professional staffing have been win-win experiences for both parties. That being said, conflicts occasionally arise in the workplace that, if left unchecked, may arise again down the road and be amplified. In most cases, it is best to bring contractor workplace grievances to the attention of your recruiter or the business manager of the staffing agency that got you the job, before acting on your own.

It’s always a good idea to get another perspective on problematic circumstances that may be confronting you. You may not be able to see the whole picture, and another set of eyes might help you avoid the embarrassment of misjudging the situation. This second opinion could also end up informing your course of action.

Your staffing agency recruiter or staffing manager is trained to help you decide how and who in the company should be addressed to seek resolution. They can help craft the message and make sure it is delivered in a constructive way. Your recruiter can be an effective negotiator and buffer in situations like these, so I would encourage you as a contract employee to lean on the agency that placed you to help resolve any issue.

By taking time to observe the whole picture rather than just focusing on one specific behavior or individual, a solution is often revealed and made obvious. For instance, if a co-worker said something that offended you, but you recall that others within earshot were not taken aback, then you may have misunderstood the context.

Maybe you’re being hampered from doing your job because there is chatter in the space next to you. Before targeting an individual, take note of the surroundings. Maybe the desk configuration could be rearranged or a partition brought in to fix the problem. By offering solutions that increase your productivity, rather than just voicing a complaint, the action is less personal and more likely to be received as constructive.

If you a have a problem with a co-employee, try to record and date the incident. Who was present at the time? Was it a private or public setting? What was the general state of the workplace at the time? Was it busy, stressful, and chaotic, or was it composed and orderly? Can you recall if anyone else voiced the same issue?

Paying attention and recording the details serve a dual purpose. First, these details will give you a more accurate assessment of the situation. Secondly, this documentation will support your position if the assessment dictates that action be taken. Contemporaneous notes can be a very powerful tool.

Of course, any abusive or egregious offenses should be communicated to your staffing agency and supervisor on the job immediately. If you perceive workplace safety issues, call your agency representative right away.

Clear communication is always the best road to resolution. If you run into a sticky situation at work, call your staffing agency, assess the situation, and plan a strategy. Team up with us. We are here for you.

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