Workplace conflict, image courtesy of Franchising.

More than HR would like to admit, established and upcoming companies face pitfalls such as dire conflicts between employees. As expected, this may affect both the companies and employees performance. In such instances, it not only hurts company’s reputation but also employee’s career growth. As an employer, are you well trained to handle the conflicts?

In more ways than one, there are times when employees and companies will do this subconsciously or intentionally. If it’s the latter, HR should tread carefully. For both cases, do you let the conflict go on for months, years or let the employees involved find an amicable solution to foster better relationships on their own?

Apart from finding the root cause of the issue(s) at hand, how can HR find amicable solutions to help the company and employees come up with lasting solutions?

1.Listen with the intent to solve the conflict
Listen tactfully. What are the both parties going on about? If you listen to an argument or observe any warring parties, you will be able to deduce what they are at loggerheads with. Is it about money, office gossip, work culture?

One way of doing that is by inviting the involved parties for a meeting. Have an agenda of why the meeting is not only important for the wellness of the company but also for their own good.

As HR, How does the company handle such cases? If you do not have a hand book (which you should) you can reach out to IHRM or accredited recruitment services for case studies and learn how established companies are able to navigate on such areas.

2.Come up with a plan of how to solve the conflict
The next step should be on how to strategize on the conflict at hand.

Say for example the employees are going on about a specific work culture and as HR you happen to hear or walk in on the conversation. If I may call it that. The conversation at hand doesn’t sit well with you. Maybe because it goes against the rigmaroles of HR.

Below are few questions to help you come up with an action plan.

Does it just concern just the arguing party or is it something that has been festering within the company for a while now?

How can it be solved?

Should you involve a higher body?

Will the employee(s) be required to go through rigorous training on such matters?

And how will the company handle such matters going forward?

“Telling people not to take conflicts personally won’t work. Regardless of any such disclaimers, people take things personally about 70 percent of the time,” advices Greer, Stanford professor on an article for Better Working Places, Better World.

3. Proceed To Either of the following
At the end of the day, HR is all about caring about the wellness of the employees. After going through the aforementioned steps, then you should consider;

Come up with a disciplinary action

Collaborate with the affected bodies > Can the two bodies come to a mutual ground which won’t lead to the following steps

Arbitration>The parties involved will be legally obliged to comply with whatever decision the arbitrator issues.

Mediation>encourage the parties involved to communicate openly with each other and arrive at a mutually beneficial solution to the problem.

As a final tip, among other coping skills for the employees, you can as well advice employees on taking meditation classes for better health awareness on stress management which could lead to less workplace conflicts.