A business can't predict how workers will get along and employee conflicts can disrupt business growth and impact the bottom line.
In my 20+ years’ experience of supporting conflict in the workplace I have seen a lot of business leaders ignore it, the main reason being difficult conversations are exactly that, difficult.
The problem is in ignoring employee conflict it more than often blows up into a formal grievance or disciplinary.
However, there is a less formal approach that can be introduced in the early stages of any conflict; mediation. Its best led by a 3rd party whose role is not to say who is right or wrong, but get both sides to understand differences and agree the best way forward.
As a HR consultant most of the time I tend to get involved is at the formal stage of the process when the conflict has escalated; but I also provide an impartial mediation service and support businesses to resolve the conflict informally.
Here are my top 5 tips to effective mediation -
1. Act promptly - as soon as the conflict is known
2. Understand the dispute details - get a the full account from all parties as to what the disagreements or disputes are
3. See both sides - get them to see each other’s point of view
4. Stamp out criticism - don't allow any side of the dispute to let emotions rule and make inappropriate or unprofessional criticism
5. Plan - help both sides come together and establish a way forward