If you’ve been working at the same place for a while then you’ve probably formed strong friendships with certain people, but kept others at more of a distance. This is only natural as we find our personalities matching or clashing with some colleagues; and in some instances, are irritated or annoyed by their behaviours or actions.
However, in the workplace, it is important that you and your work colleagues behave amicably towards each other to ensure day-to-day operations runs smoothly. The situation and atmosphere could become very difficult if you have consistently hostile feelings about someone you have to work with every day.
Unfortunately, this happens in hundreds of businesses on a daily basis, and can cause a number of issues if dispute resolutions procedures are not in place or used. Workplace conflict between two people can significantly increase feelings of stress, as well as reducing levels of motivation and commitment, which is bad news for any business. More than likely that the conflict will spread and begin to affect other employees; either making them feel awkward or uncomfortable at work, or drawing them into the conflict itself, further circulating feelings of stress or lack of motivation.
Are you aware of your dispute resolution service?
When people hear about workplace conflict, they may automatically think that conflict only qualifies as shouting matches or active hostilities between the parties involved. However, the most common behaviour reported in conflict is lack of respect, with shouting matches and other hostilities only visible in cases of extremely advanced conflict where a dispute resolution procedure hasn’t been followed. So, it is important to act quickly and take action to avoid the escalation to any extreme hostile behaviour.
But how do you resolve workplace conflict? A lot of businesses and organisations will have their own dispute resolution procedures e.g grievance procedure, mediation that explicitly state what is to be done to work towards resolving a conflict. Depending on the business and their resources, this could involve senior management, seeking third party help, involving the HR department, or other conflict management techniques.
It is important that all employees, at all levels, are signposted to the correct procedures within the organisation, so that they can actively follow this procedure at the earliest opportunity. Doing so could help to resolve the conflict at an early stage and before it escalates and starts to affect other people.
How does conflict and dispute resolution work?
There are a number of different conflict management techniques, and certain businesses might subscribe to any number of them, such as filing grievances, taking disciplinary action, or progressing to employee tribunals. These measures are official, arbitrary and fairly final, but they often do nothing to quash the hostile and irrational feelings that conflict stirs, and rather just dictate the mandatory behaviour of employees for fear of rebuttal or dismissal. Alternative dispute resolution includes techniques and processes to come to agreement without entering into formal procedures or litigation, and are often far more successful at resolving conflict.
There are a number of alternative dispute resolution techniques, such as arbitration or negotiation, but the most common, and arguably most effective, is mediation. Workplace mediation should be carried out by a trained mediator, which can be someone from within the organisation, but is usually an experienced third party mediator.
Workplace mediation works by creating a channel of mutual communication between the parties involved in the conflict. This is a crucial part of the process, as the mediator facilitates and supports each party listens to the other’s point of view, which would likely not happen without a mediator due to heightened feelings and emotions lack of respect or dislike between each party. The mediator ensures that each party understands the other’s point of view, reasons and thoughts on the conflict, and the changes they want to see in their working relationship. Doing this allows clear and rational thought, and a two-way discussion can take place that paves the way for a mutually beneficial solution to be reached.
HCHR are experienced mediators having undertaken extensive training in workplace mediation services. We can provide a third-party mediator to help resolve workplace conflicts in business or industry sector, and are confident that a lasting solution can be reached no matter what the source of the conflict might have been. As well as direct mediation services, HCHR can offer updates to conflict and dispute resolution procedures, coach senior staff in how to deal with difficult situations, provide mediation services to complement your existing policies, and train managers or supervisors to identify and prevent future conflicts.
Call HCHR today on the number below to arrange a free ½ hour phone consultation to discuss your mediation and conflict resolution needs.