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Dealing with Workplace Conflict: An Important HR Skill

Dealing with Workplace Conflict: An Important HR Skill

“Ignorance is Bliss” If ignorance is bliss, why aren't there more happy people work as a group or team? It’s because of Conflict – Strong disagreement between people in a group, disagreement between ideas, feelings, and a struggle for power. When the members in a team dislike each other, their bitterness can turn a healthy working environment into a contaminated workplace. 

Conflict with Co workers is inevitable; you can’t make everyone be a best friend to each person. When the dislike between the employees grow and the longer it suffers, it’s more likely not alone their productivity is getting impacted, it’ll hurt that of those around them as well. Ultimately, it needs to be resolved then and there without pro-longing it.

Consequences of Conflict
When a flag raised by the department manager on the employees conflict and/or as soon as you get to know that your employees in a department are not getting along and if it is not managed well, then it’ll lead to several negative impacts. Let’s see some common impacts when the conflict arise between the co-workers:

•    Decreased morale and lowered enthusiasm
•    Withdrawal & miscommunication or totally no communication
•    Complaint mode and blame game
•    Decrease in overall performance and productivity
•    Indirectly harming other party who involved in the conflict
•    Impaired psychological and emotional comfort between the conflict parties.
•    Frustration and stress in workplace.

Nature of Conflict
There are a variety of factors leads to conflict and you need to know how to influence and surface it before dealing or taking action on it. Identify which factor has commanded to develop conflict among them.

•    Importance – unsuitability of preferences, principles and practices within the team & its members
•    Power – each party desired to retain or maximize the amount of power that it wields in the team and setting the trend in decision making process
•    Interpersonal – two people or more have mismatched needs, goals, or methods in their relationship such as different communication or work styles
•    Managerial – dissimilarities in the organizational chart and in what way employees report to one another

Dealing and Helping employees to avoid conflicts
As a HR representative you must stop seeing the relationships with colleagues in terms of whom you like and whom you don’t like. As a Human Resource professional you should not be in groups with the people who work for the organization. You should build professional boundaries so that it will substantially help you to measure, construct and provide feedback, make decisions and help the employees to resolve the conflict when it arises.

  • Meet with the rowing employees and work out the differences between the parties based on the nature of conflict, hear their view point and help them to rise above, and move on by providing a solution which is amicable to both the parties. Do this quickly to avoid letting it alienate and curved out of control.
  • Record and document the meeting and keep that posted to the department head, so that they’re not blind-sided by any necessary corrective actions if required for instance or in the future. 
  • Based on the need create and initiate the PIP plan for the difficult employees and/or consider to begin the process of transferring the troublemakers to another department or location.
  • Promote an environment and culture of respect, tolerance, politeness and respect each other in the office.
  • Keep open conversations with your employees. Share the information liberally to your employees and keep them updated on the business direction which will defeat the need for gossip and rumours.
  • Review the company policies on use of email and social media sites on quarterly basis. Some dissatisfied staffs will take their outbursts on-line either inside or outside of the organization. Understand, educate and communicate the social medial and electronic media policy of the company to all employees.

Solutions to Satisfy Needs
It is easy for any one go ground down on the daily routine and argue with the coworker and make the other feel like the end of the work. As there are no such rules or policies laid down to love everyone in the workplace, but there are rules and polices in the organization, barring the harassment of team members and contaminated work environments. Here are some solutions as a HR you can provide to the parties involved in the conflict and take corrective actions if needed. While you're providing resolution don’t ever let the situation go on total silence which may be a sign of passive resistance.

  • Generate multiple alternatives based on the problem/conflict
  • Conclude on what actions will be taken to resolve the conflict
  • Consider on small changes (if suggested by the parties) to give an experience of success
  • Ensure the involved parties buy into actions and make sure you get factual treaty from everyone.

As a HR Leader it is in business best interest you must educate, coach and make the employee to be polite and cordial to all co-workers, even if they would never spend time with their co-workers outside of work. Each employee represents a unique opportunity for professional growth and development. Respect the unique differences in each employee and learn to see things from differing points of view so you can better understand how to avoid conflict in the future. Consider how dull things might be if everyone saw things the same way and there is no scope for disagreement. Give honest and sincere conflict resolution, new conducts of looking at your situation may even help your business grow and expand in new and startling ways

HR is about anticipating the unexpected and not to complicate matters. Design and create opportunity for your employees to learn new skills, new responsibilities to stay focused on their goals and become a HR champion by helping them to focus on their growth along with the organization goals.  Whatever the reason, it is in everyone’s best interest to address and resolve the matter before it becomes toxic in the office. Trust yourself enough to take action.

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