HR lacks confidence to deal with workplace conflict

by 19 Aug 2009

Dealing with conflict in the workplace is an area in which most HR professionals feel they need more training, according to a recent survey.

HR leaders and operational managers from the Queensland and Victorian private and public sectors felt that more skills were needed to develop the confidence of managers dealing with workplace conflict.

A significant 86 per cent of respondents felt that their company’s line managers had low skill levels in dealing with internal complaints and said their organisations’ priority for improving and building these skills should be directed to line managers.

“The best-placed companies are those who spend time putting systems in place to prevent issues arising, who intervene early to address issues before they become crises, and who respond quickly and effectively if issues do reach crisis point,” said John Scoble, director of HR Advantage, which conducted the survey.

Other factors which the survey highlighted as in need of improvement in the area of internal complaints were: timeliness/speed of response, following agreed procedures, and providing a culture where complaints were seen as opportunities to resolve issues.

External mediators were seen as experts who could bring neutrality to the conflict, but of more importance to HR professionals were providing a more consistent approach, providing better training and taking appropriate disciplinary action when warranted.


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