Workplace conflicts are inevitable and more common than you might think. From differences in personalities and lifestyle choices to stressors at work and time spent with the same people, workplace conflicts are bound to happen. 85% of employees have encountered some sort of workplace conflict, and 49% of workplace conflicts are caused by incompatible personalities and egos. Unresolved, continuous, and explosive workplace conflicts can adversely affect the workplace environment, which in turn can influence employee morale and company culture. The best way to deal with workplace conflicts is to develop a process, involve the appropriate support teams, and address the conflict(s) as soon as it arises.
Here are some frequently asked questions and tips for resolving workplace conflicts.
When should HR get involved? Typically, it is advised to allow employees an opportunity to resolve minor conflicts on their own. However, incidents or conflicts that require immediate HR intervention include a personal attack or general disrespect toward another employee, an employee threatening to quit as a result of a conflict, or the conflict affects employees across departments or the entire organization.
What does a peaceful workplace conflict resolution look like? Determine a time to meet with the conflicting parties and discuss the conflict. The conflict should be addressed as soon as possible to avoid tension build-up and in a neutral space. Set some ground rules for the discussion, such as not talking over one another, and to be respectful of each side. Encourage a healthy dialogue that focuses on “I” statements that avoid accusatory language. One an agreement is established, discuss next steps. The next steps should include how to prevent future conflicts, ensure the resolution is followed through, and any other follow-up necessary. Lastly, try to end the meeting with a positive anecdote to clear the air.
When should I seek additional and/or external help? Most workplace conflicts can be peacefully resolved with the appropriate plan and training in place. However, should the conflict result in aggressive behavior, such as bullying, harassment, discrimination, or workplace violence, or you do not possess the proper training or knowledge to deal with such conflict, seek additional assistance to protect the well being of employees.
If you’re contemplating if you have adequate training and policies in place for workplace conflicts, please consult with Harbor America. We value the safety and well being of employees and have a team of HR experts who can provide HR best practices, strategize effective workplace conflict resolution, and offer human resource services that can better equip your business for future conflicts. Whether you’d like to revamp your employee handbook or simply explore alternative options for improved business solutions, please contact Harbor America today.