It seems as if every day in the news that there is another worker conflict resulting in injury or some other tragedy.
These incidents are often stemming from minor infractions that continue to spiral out of control until someone loses it and violence ensues. All HR managers must learn how to deal with employee conflicts in a constructive way to prevent such things from occurring. It’s not comfortable, but it is part of the job to maintain safety and harmony in the workplace.
Take All Conflicts Seriously
It’s very important to treat all employee concerns over conflicts with others seriously from day one. Don’t brush them off and hope that they will go away on their own. Listen to both sides of every conflict and offer to mediate to resolve them. Get management involved whenever possible. Let employees know you care about both side and about being fair.
Focus on Relationships
Employees involved in conflicts with others often feel like outsiders themselves. They may not find acceptance with peers, or they may be subjected to ridicule from colleagues. This can result in anger and paranoia. Observe your employees and look for these lost employees. Work on getting them back into the fold with relationship building activities.
Have a System
Get a policy in place to handle worker conflicts in a positive and proactive way. This can be as simple as having a safe outlet for employees to voice their concerns. Make sure they know they can do so in confidence. If there are bullies in the workplace, discipline them or eliminate them. Host educational sessions on conflict resolution, how to report problems, how to communicate with others, and the safety steps to take if violence breaks out between workers.
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