How Do You Manage Conflict in the Workplace?

By 5th February 2014 Human Resources
This article was written by Heather.

Heather Cooper Mediation Article




How do you manage conflict in the workplace? Is it working? Is there a better way?

Mediation resolving workplace or HR conflicts

An Alternative Dispute Resolution model is Mediation, championed by ACAS, because it offers the very real prospect of a long term, win – win, solution for any of the following:-

• Conflicts over working practices.
• Interdepartmental conflict over scarce resources.
• Conflict arising from individual behaviour/relationships.
• Conflicting perceptions of performance/personalities/relationships.
• Allegations of discrimination, or unfair or unequal treatment.
• A severe breakdown in communication (which tends to be the manifestation of some of the issues listed above).
• A grievance or disciplinary situation, although in certain circumstances mediation may be unsuitable (see our e-book for more information).

Why should HR conflicts be resolved?

Where a workplace conflict has been long running, the original source of the conflict may no longer be relevant or may be reconcilable. However, the process of mediation enables the parties to understand each other and restore the working relationship going forward.

Conflict is complex. Conflict deskills us. It can undermine trust and respect in working relationships, increase absence, and erode efficiency. How often do we see grown adults seemingly behaving like children over a workplace dispute? The solution to which is obvious to all, except those involved in the conflict. Or is it? There are many well-meaning managers who bear the scars from stepping in to help, and the solution still eludes the parties. However, the solution is rarely predictable by an observer, and the quest to provide a solution is one of the main reasons why untrained, well-meaning interventions are not working. The process of mediation is very different.

What is mediation?

Our qualified (mediation council) mediators focus on the warring parties individual and specific needs; helping them to communicate their concerns, focusing the interaction within an agreed structure. Reframing the content of what is being said into terms that relate to the parties needs, enables the parties to “hear” the other party and be “heard” themselves, probably for the first time. Sanity/adult behavior returns and the parties determine their own win-win solution, or a way of working together effectively for the future. The process is profound and can normally be completed in at least a third of the time taken to address the matter via the formal grievance process.

We can:-
• Conduct mediations on client premises.
• Draft policies/update existing policies to embed a culture of resolution.
• Provide qualified mediators to supplement in house mediation schemes in large organisations.
• Help organisations to set up and establish internal mediation services and recommend a suitable training provider.
• Coach managers in how to deal with difficult conversations.
• Broadening the range of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) and CR (Conflict Resolution) options and services.
• Draft memorandum of understanding, if required.
• Subject to the constraints of confidentiality, we can advise on cultural issues and coach managers to identify future conflicts, and take appropriate action to prevent escalation.
• Provide a post mediation action plan to support parties, to identify conflict, and to deploy defusing strategies to retain harmony.

If you wish to discuss the mediation services we offer, and find out more, then please call us on the number below, or email Heather at

To find out more about mediation, please enter your details in the sidebar to download our e-book, ‘A Free Guide to Mediation in the Workplace’.

Contact HCHR - 01792 234761


Author HCHR

More posts by HCHR

Leave a Reply

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.