Millions of employees experience conflict in the workplace every year and, in 2021, ACAS reported that the cost to employers is around £11.9 billion from resulting resignations, £10 billion from disciplinary dismissals and £2.2 billion for resulting sickness absences. Huge sums.
Nearly half a million employees resign every year as a result of conflict. Handling disagreements and complaints early can certainly save businesses money.
Poor conflict management can cause stress to all involved and can affect productivity. Addressing how you handle conflict in the workplace can be a key factor in improving productivity and efficiency and reducing distress for those involved.

Conflict management coaching

There are different types of conflict in the workplace and knowing how to handle different situations can avoid situations escalating. Coaching in conflict management can help, giving managers the tools to de-escalate. Conflict can range from two employees clashing to an employee taking your organisation to an employment tribunal. Disagreements can crop up between individuals or groups, managers and employees or teams and their manager, all of which can disrupt the workplace.
Developing active listening skills, improving communication, learning to consult, problem solving, decision making, negotiation and knowledge of employment law can all help. Investing in coaching for your managers in these skills could save you money and time in the long run and it could make for a happier workplace. If you would like to develop your managers’ soft skills do get in touch with me.

Procedures provide clear expectations

Another example of when employers can cause themselves problems by not having the correct procedure in place is not having a data protection policy detailing who to report breaches to or explaining what is and isn’t acceptable as regards personal data.

 Mediation

Mediation can be a useful tool to avoid more serious levels of formal action. As a trained mediator, I am an impartial person who can support the people involved in conflict to find a solution. This can be particularly helpful when there is an issue between individuals. Individuals engage in mediation voluntarily and all discussions are confidential.
Mediation doesn’t involve apportioning blame but looks at ways of working in the future. There are many examples of when mediation can help a situation including when there are allegations of bullying, personality clashes, line management issues, behavioural issues, communication problems, change management problems, group or team issues, cultural conflicts or perceived discrimination.
If you feel mediation can resolve a situation in your workplace do let me know.

Avoid costly and time-consuming grievance procedures

Poor management can cause conflict and this can relate to inadequate training, unfair treatment, poor handling of a personality clash, taking sides in a conflict, unclear job roles, poor communication or a poor working environment amongst many other reasons. Many of these issues can be resolved by improving training for managers and employees and by improving communication.
Management coaching and/or mediation can help to avoid stressful situations becoming distressing and time consuming. Formal procedures which take up a lot of time such as grievances can sometimes be avoided with the right knowledge. If matters can be resolved informally then businesses can focus on what they are there for rather than focusing on a conflict in the workplace.

If I can help with coaching or mediation do get in touch on with me at liz.jewer@hrthink.co.uk.

Get in touch

Contact Liz Jewer on 07803 007591 if you need advice about this topic or HR related services HR Think offer.