Spending every day with the same people can present itself with a number of issues. It can cause resentments and arguments that – over a period of time – can actually have a very negative impact on the business as a whole. So, with that in mind, what can you do in order to ensure a workplace dispute does not turn into something much uglier than your business can afford?
Create Breathing Room
Problems often persist and grow worse the more you chew on them. So, if there is a problem between a number of coworkers or even an employee and employer, the best course of action is always to ensure space to calm down is put between both (or more) parties. This can then be used to help both sides see a more reasonable approach to their issues, separately. Of course, not all issues can be solved simply be separating; but it is a good first step in most cases.
If you choose to involve HR too late in a conflict then it can quickly turn into a game of ‘he said/she said’. To avoid this, HR should be involved as soon as an issue seems to be arising. This way they understand the stakes from the get-go and are not misinformed, nor are your accounts changed by the passing of time or escalating anger. Keeping HR in the loop also means that everything is on record and proof of the incidents which may be causing the arguments is there for everyone to see and refer back to when needed.
Open a Line of Communication
Often simply talking through an issue can be the best way to solve it. Therefore if communication has broken down between the various parties involved in a conflict it is important to try to reinstate a line of communication. Mediation, therefore, conducted by an experienced commercial law Manchester team, can be the best choice for you to make in order to solve any disputes. If a situation escalates then it can quickly exceed your HR departments pay grade, that is why bringing in an expert may be your only option.
Define Acceptable Behaviour
Avoiding conflict in your workplace altogether may be the best solution for your business. Meaning defining what is acceptable and what is not acceptable beforehand, so that your employers will most likely never fall into the misstep of escalating a conflict. Just by having this definition in place can help your business to avoid conflict, making it an essential policy to have in place no matter the size of your business.
This can include a decision framework, encouragement of sound business practice, team building, leadership development training, as well as something like talent management. A clear job description, so that people know what is expected of them directly, should also be outlined at any given time. Overall, your business should be very open about what is and is not acceptable behaviour in your business.
At the end of the day, conflict in the workplace isn’t always going to be possible to avoid. But, you can control the way in which your business deals with workplace disputes when they do arise. Having a set practice in place can ultimately save your business time, money and even remove the worry of a lawsuit being brought against you in some cases.