Workplace conflict is natural when people from different backgrounds are asked to work in close proximity and solve problems as a group, and in small quantities, conflict can even be a positive challenge for many people. When the conflict in the workplace turns into arguments, bullying, and exclusion, it can cause anxiety, lower productivity and morale, and even contribute to turnover rates. Worse yet, prolonged and public conflict tends to creep beyond the parties involved and can affect the wider workplace, causing poor culture and fostering a toxic environment.
So, what can you do to banish conflict from your workplace? Here are our top tips.
Resolve communication issues
Communication, its misuse, a lack of it or varying styles of communicating can all be triggers of workplace conflict. Fortunately, communication issues can usually be resolved through conversations led by management, by implementing stringent policies and practices around communication and putting a stop to passive aggressive behaviour, rumours and gossip, which can lead to ineffective working relationships and a loss of productivity.
Promote the value of diversity
A workforce made up of people from diverse backgrounds has been proven to increase creativity, help with problem-solving and develop a workplace culture that is dynamic, inclusive, and forward-thinking. The world’s most prominent brands are all now clamouring to hire unique and talented people from a gamut of different cultural backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, and religious affiliations to ensure they continue to stay at the top of their industries, and encourage employees to bring their true and whole selves to work to inspire different ways of thinking and working.
By promoting diversity of thought you can encourage contributions from all team members regardless of their background and help to foster a more well-rounded workplace where conflict is not perpetuated or tolerated.
Manage personality clashes
Personality clashes are bound to occur in any working environment and while it is important that different types of people make up a workplace, constant clashes of personalities can cause unnecessary and unwanted tension that can make other workers uncomfortable or for factions to occur.
In the first instance, you should encourage clashing employees to work through their differences, followed by mediation or an official work plan put in place by management. All personality types should be able to sort out their differences and work together towards their and the business’ ultimate goals.
Provide adequate resources
Arguments over limited resources can be avoided by providing everything workers require to complete their jobs effectively. If the required resource is manpower, assess the team and their workload and hire accordingly. If team members feel overworked then they are likely to experience burnout, which can lead to poor performance and higher instances of sick leave and turnover, all of which can be avoided by ensuring workers are managing a reasonable load.
Nip poor performance in the bud
When one worker is underperforming, it sends the message that their standard of work ethic is acceptable. It can also imply favouritism or poor management, which can have a deeper negative impact on other workers and the business. If one worker believes they are working harder than another and that poor performance is going unnoticed, morale can drop and turnover can increase. To rectify this, ensure that poorly performing employees are managed appropriately and quickly so that their behaviour does not taint the wider workforce.
Addressing workplace conflict early is key to stamping it out. The longer tensions exist, the deeper they embed themselves into the culture and become harder to resolve. By finding a resolution as soon as possible you can maintain or strengthen rapport, reduce turnover and increase productivity. If you are experiencing conflict within your workplace, please contact our experienced HR consultant on 4052 0762.