When workplace conflicts happen, resolving them usually falls into the lap of the HR department. Co-workers who can’t get along, employees who dislike managers, all of these disputes need to be resolved to maintain a productive workforce. Here’s how HR should go about doing it.
Rule out any potential compliance issue
Before attempting to resolve any conflicts between employees and/or managers, you need to make sure the conflict didn’t violate any compliance issues, like sexual harassment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission routinely fines companies for age and disability discrimination. It is imperative to make sure this isn’t happening at your company.
Get friendly with some of your own co-workers
While it is important for HR to remain impartial, mitigating conflict is easier when you know the people involved. The Balance Careers suggests that HR gets to know the managers at the company to ascertain their personality. For example, an employee might come to you with a complaint that his or her manager’s tone is rude or that they feel talked down to, but it could be that the manager is a loud speaker or is simply direct. Knowing these personality traits ahead of time may help you to quickly get to the bottom of some conflicts.
Keep your door open
It is much easier to resolve conflicts if you aren’t completely blindsided by them. Keeping the lines of communication open, whether it is by having an open-door policy, having online chats or sending emails, will help you know if employees are feeling dissatisfied with their manager or upset with their co-workers. Besides alerting you about potential conflicts, an open-door policy can give you a heads up if employees are feeling overworked or underpaid.
Spell out policies in your handbook
It’s easier to settle disputes when you have policies in place for how your company expects employees to behave. Along with legal issues, your employee handbook can cover your company’s policies on topics that might cause workplace conflicts, like combustive issues including employee dating and complaints.
Empower staff to be part of the solution
Resolving conflicts should include the employees involved as well as HR or their manager. Ask each of the employees to come up with three or four specific actions they can take to resolve the conflict between them. Having them be part of the solution may help eliminate future problems.
Hold regular performance reviews
A performance review is a great way for managers to stay on top of how their employees are feeling about their job and their co-workers. Plus, performance reviews provide the opportunity to adjust workloads and job descriptions, which could be the root of some conflicts, like doing another’s work or being bossy. And, performance reviews are just part of good management.
Using a performance management system, like the one offered by BirdDogHR, an Arcoro company, keeps the lines of communication open, helping to reduce the number of conflicts in your workplace. Plus a good performance review process goes a long way towards keeping your employees engaged in their daily work. Schedule a demo to see it in action.