Conflict in the workplace is never easy. It puts a strain on you and your employees, affects productivity, and can even lead to lawsuits. But how can you avoid conflict in the workplace? The best defense against employment lawsuits and workplace conflict is developing a work culture where respect is a fundamental principle. It is important for employers to take a proactive approach to stop workforce conflict before it ever has a chance to begin. The proactive approach should start with each new hire; employees are conditioned from day one to understand the company culture and policies when it comes to conflict among the group. Here are five ways to avoid workforce conflict.
Create an Employment Handbook. Your organization should have an employee code of ethics or a mission statement of how you want your firm and its employees to conduct business and themselves. It is a great idea to include things like a code of ethics in the employee handbook and display it on the walls of the organization as a constant reminder. During a new hire orientation, get them familiar with the company’s business practices and business ethics that foster mutual respect between employees and customers. The orientation should include examples of proper behavior and codes of conduct with specific guidelines for acceptable and respectful behavior in the workplace. If conflict in the workplace should arise, your Employment Handbook should address the hierarchy of the corporate structure directing employees through the appropriate channels to resolve it.
Provide Ongoing Education. Employee education is a proactive method to prevent conflict. Through education, employees get a clear understanding of expectations when it comes to workforce behavior. This education can outline acceptable versus unacceptable behavior using specific examples for your industry environment. Employee education should be ongoing to increase knowledge and skills to the benefit of the employee, organization, and customer. In some states, there are mandatory education requirements for employees and supervisors on fair employment practices, including sexual harassment education within a designated period defined by the state. Ask your HR professionals at PREEMPT Corp what your state requirements are to be compliant for staff education, and then contact us to sign up.
Educate Your Management Team. Your management team is usually in charge of distribution of assignments or delegation of responsibilities, which are often fodder for conflict. Education specifically geared towards management should cover things like: bias treatment, dealing with strong dominating attitudes, recognizing negativity, boosting morale, and identifying specific skills hiding in your workforce. Education options are only a click away – contact us to find out which programs we are currently offering.
Use Your HR Resources. In most cases, complex conflict issues end up in the realms of upper management. If this happens, establish specific steps for handling employee conflict issues. If the issue escalates beyond the immediate supervisor, have a team in place to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Conflicts that drag on can wreak havoc on staff morale if word gets out. The team should include an HR representative who can document the meeting and bring together all parties involved. If the issue cannot be resolved, then the question remains: is it reasonable to seek advice from legal counsel regarding workplace conflict? Preventing workplace conflict is one of the most important responsibilities of HR staff. Teach employees the steps your organization takes to resolve workplace conflict.
Are you in need of creative ways to preempt legal issues and conflict in the workplace? Contact us today.