Conflict in the workplace can be minimised but can also be inevitable, so having the right approach to employee relations really is crucial. What is employee relations? This term reflects and defines the relationship between the employer and employee. If this relationship becomes strained during the handling of a conflict, it could lead to the employee feeling distressed, disengaged or ultimately leaving the organisation all together. Here are our tips for conflict management to keep that relationship healthy.
Address the issue early
The earlier you can address a conflict, the better chance you’ll have of reaching an ideal conclusion. In some cases the employee involved may not even be aware of the issue, while in others naming the problem can help to clear the air and provide space for a friendly conversation to take place.
We all want to be heard, and particularly so when there’s an issue affecting the way we live or work. When handling conflict with an employee, it’s important to ask open-ended questions and truly listen to the responses. You may even discover wider cultural or policy-based problems at the core of the matter.
Maintain focus on the facts
It’s key that in handling conflict, both employee and employer aim to set emotion aside and maintain a rational, evidence-based discussion of the conflict. While this is easy in theory it can sometimes be challenging in practice, so a third-party workplace relations service can bring a valuable sense of neutrality.
Aim for a sense of collaboration
A great employee is worth holding onto, and a collaborative approach to conflict resolution will help them feel like they’re still highly valued within the organisation without setting an impression of ‘me versus them’. A collaborative approach might start with phrases such as, ‘Let’s talk about what changes we can make to turn this around’, and can result in far more positive outcomes all round.
Keep it confidential
A conflict in the workplace can bring up a lot of fear around public embarrassment. It’s absolutely critical that conflict and any associated discussions are handled confidentially and discreetly to keep the employee from feeling exposed. Any wider changes are best addressed in a general nature.
Our experienced team at PerformHR can not only help to guide you through workplace conflicts smoothly, but also assist you in getting the very best out of your people. For workplace relations and HR expertise, get in touch with your local PerformHR team today.