Available data indicates that workplace conflict is common worldwide. And statistics show that 38% of employees across the UK report some form of conflict at the workplace annually. If left unresolved, these conflicts can breed animosity and cause friction among workers, which is unhealthy. When well-managed, it is likely to increase employee satisfaction. Below is a discussion on some strategies you may want to adopt at your workplace to lower conflict.
- Encourage effective communication techniques
More often than not, poor communication is the fundamental element that sparks disputes. In the workplace, it could be in the form of unclear managerial direction, lack of information on overall business goals, etc. Poor communication is not something you want to entertain in a professional setting. And one way to reduce workplace conflict is to encourage an environment of transparency with an open communication strategy.
It is vital to include your workers in implementing this strategy, and when things don’t seem to be getting better, it is a good idea to seek external help. You can seek the services of a communication skills training agency. These professionals can guide your employees to learn more about effective communication. In addition to that, you may want to set an example as an employer or manager. You are less likely to get your team members to cooperate when you don’t adhere to your own rules.
- Treat every employee fairly
Sometimes, you may not be aware that you are treating someone unfairly, but it happens all the same. The objective of treating employees fairly is to prevent conflict, and you can do this by adopting an equality mindset in the workplace. This means paying attention to situations that may breed discrimination, bias, and favouritism. For example, as a manager, you should be able to praise star performers without putting down other team members. Also, it would help if you evaluated each team member objectively and per the same standards, depending on the job characteristics.
While it may not be a deliberate action to pay more attention to your high performers, others may misconstrue your actions. Before you know it, the situation escalates into a full-blown workplace conflict. Unfortunately, when the remaining staff feels aggrieved, their attitude to work may be affected. Subsequently, it impacts productivity levels and sows seeds of animosity among the remaining employees. To prevent this from happening to you, it helps to treat all employees equally.
- Make it easy to file workplace complaints
What are the processes for filing formal complaints at your company? Is it a bureaucratic process? Or is it a deliberately complex process to discourage workers from filing official complaints? If you plan to reduce workplace conflicts, it would be wise to simplify the processes. Moreover, your staff members should feel comfortable reporting anything that causes interpersonal workplace conflicts. Sometimes, there may be the need to maintain some level of anonymity for employees who lodge official complaints. Once these structures are in place, it builds an atmosphere of trust and loyalty.
As an employer, allowing conflict to fester in the workplace can be detrimental to business. Therefore, your best bet is to try and avoid them in the first place.