How to manage conflicts in the workplace

It’s unpleasant for everyone, but conflict resolution is HR’s responsibility: here’s how to do it right

How to manage conflicts in the workplace
Research shows that co-workers are the number one reason people love their jobs, and it’s no secret that who you work with is just as, if not more, significant than who you work for. But when employees don’t enjoy the people they work with, the results can be just as negative.
  • 74% of employees report experiencing conflict at work (FindEmployment, 2014)
  • 20% of those who experienced conflict said it was ‘very serious’
  • 46% of those who experienced conflict said it was with a co-worker
Ensure employees know what channels are available: While most companies do offer conflict resolution services though HR, not all companies communicate that to staff. By reassuring people that you are listening, and that inquiries are confidential, you will be able to solve conflicts sooner rather than later.

Consider generational differences in communication: A survey by the ASTD Workforce Development Community found that 1 in 4 workers avoid conflict with colleagues of a different generation. This can lead to poor communication, exacerbating the issue at hand, said study author Joseph Grenny. "We were struck by the irony in the stories we collected," he said. "Some insisted that 'She's lazy because she's old' while others said 'She's lazy because she's young!'"

Equip managers with specific guidelines: When the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution examined 1,000 UK workers, they found that 46% of managers did not have confidence in their own ability to resolve the disputes of their staff. By providing direct supervisors with the right tools and procedures, you can improve efficiency, and prevent nasty legal complications if a manager makes a wrong step.

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