When desktop items topple down, screams are in the air, the London Bridge seems to be falling and conflict is at its peak, the HR is bound to step in and take matters into their own hands (though we hope they do way before the situation described in the first sentence arises). Conflicts in the workplace are commonplace and might even contribute to what they call “workplace politics”. The office environment can be a stressful place for many reasons and that could be why tempers are lost and conflicts ignite.
An HR professional should do his best to resolve the issue in the fairest manner possible. Here is a seven step guide that will help HR professionals deal with conflicts at the workplace.
1) Handle It Before The Flame Goes Up: One of the best ways to deal with conflicts is to deal with them as SOON as they start to surface. Putting it off is a poor approach, because it can only exacerbate the situation until one employee decides to quit or get’s fired for unacceptable behavior. Conduct a meeting (or several meetings) and have the parties at conflict talk it out before the situation gets worse.
2) Keep an Open Mind: The last thing an HR professional, with a conflict at hand, would want to do is not having an open mind. Don’t pick sides! Different people have different ways of expressing their feelings and the way they perceiving situations. You may not view the situation the same way the parties are. Keep an open mind and try to fully understand their point of view. Also, express the fact that you understand how they may feel and try to relate to it.
3) Find the Root Cause: The main motive of the meeting should be to “sit together to talk it out”. This means you should be to find out what caused the conflict and what contributed to the situation worsening. Spend as much time as you can to fully understand the situation and the cause. Also, look for ways the cause can be prevented in future.
4) Define Acceptable Behavior: All employees should know the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Publish what defines appropriate behavior and who gets to make the decisions. Use the documented and defined behavior to present to employees where they went wrong.
5) Recite Back Your Version of the Issue: The most effective step in resolving a conflict is by putting forward a bird’s-eye view of the situation after you done listening to both sides. Objectively recite the conflict with each person and ask them if what you said is incorrect in any way. Allow them to add details if they like. This third-person point of view should be a wake-up call and a perspective that makes the most sense.
6) Ask Them To Present Solutions: Jot down both their versions of solutions to the conflicts including your own. Pick the one that everyone agrees on and make sure everyone is satisfied. Allow them to shake hands and dismiss the meeting.
7) Log The Conflict: It is important to log the conflict including each and every detail (and both versions of the conflict). If needed, print out a copy of the log and ask them to sign it if they think it is correct. File this document for future reference.
On the Last Note:
Make sure that diversity isn’t an issue especially if the workplace is a very diverse one (gender diversity, race, ethnicity, etc). Diversity programs train employees for being more tolerant and understanding towards people with diverse backgrounds. What is acceptable for one person may not be for another belonging from a different background. Mandate diversity program training and attendance to avoid conflicts that may arise because of this particular issue.
Author Bio: - Jenifer Bradshaw is a developer and a writer. She assists students in choosing the right career path. She also provides assignment help in UK to students facing problems with their coding assignment. Find her on Facebook.