Need for HR mediation to settle a workplace conflict
Working as a team with different personalities and traits requires employees to set aside their selfishness and ego, and collectively contribute to meet deadlines and support business goals.
However, relationship between employees in a workplace doesn’t always run smoothly and conflicts owing to differences in opinions and perspectives are thus unavoidable.
Conflicts arising due to miscommunication, argumentative behaviours, and unfair practices of discrimination followed by both leaders and management promote confronting times at work. If the conflicts between co-workers are not addressed with timely intervention from the HR manager, it will support creation of a toxic workplace.
While some of the conflicts can be easily resolved through effective discussion and clarification from both parties, there are some others which are deep-rooted to be dismissed easily.
Especially conflicts arising out of differences in beliefs, perceptions, negative attitudes, principles or sexual harassment to impact self-esteem need careful thought and timely action from HR managers.
Intervention of a HR manager is most sought after during times of conflicts to seek the best mediation advice and practice that helps promote harmonious workings of the team.
Careful understanding and resolution would create a win-win solution for all the employees involved into a conflicting argument. This would further create a platform wherein everyone is treated equally and satisfied with the final judgment made.
Since employees have to continue working together to meet collective organisation goals, simply resolving the situation on hand is not enough. Instead, HR Managers and employers need to fix and mend the cracks in employer-employee relationship, while establishing a solid foundation for businesses to lead by example in the future.
Here are some steps for thoughtful HR intervention to help mediate and settle workplace conflicts:
Research the issue thoroughly before presenting views and solutions
Observing the issue objectively is an important preliminary stage to initiate effective mediation process. HR Managers can start researching the subject on hand to understand the core of the issue by interviewing managers, supervisors, and team leaders, who directly manage and work with employees responsible for conflicts, displaying argumentative behaviour. They need to seek for evidences to strengthen the theory from their perspectives.
Meet the conflicting parties separately
Meeting the personnels involved into a conflict separately, allows HR Managers to listen to each of their concerns attentively and understand individual perspective. Conducting the meeting in private on different occasions can help employees speak about the issues impacting workings truthfully, without any intervention from other parties and emotional control.
As employees into a conflict often view an issue from different perspectives, HR managers should observe fair treatment when arriving at conclusions based on the information received. This would help employees build great rapport with colleagues in the workplace and avoid conflict situations.
Meet the parties involved into a conflict together
The ultimate test of successful mediation is to arrange for a meeting with both the parties into a conflict at the same place and time to arrive at the best solution. If the mediation efforts by a HR manager is success, the outcome would be peaceful. However, in case the conflicts remains unresolved even after discussion, one of the parties might choose to quit or walk out of the organisation.
Hence it is required of HR managers to be assertive in their communication style and
Communicate direct messages to employees involved into a conflict, while arriving at solutions best suited for everyone’s interests. Blaming an employee, while defending the other could only sharpen the conflicts and lead to creation of many more debatable issues.
Instead, HR managers should direct their efforts on deciding the right and wrong subjectively, by drawing a clear reference to tackle the issue at hand (examples; the company’s policies and government regulation).
Investigate the reliability
Before taking a final decision and arriving at a solution, HR managers should double check for factual correctness of the information presented and if needed be, interviewing some colleagues at work could provide better clarity.
HR Managers should also consider the track record of attitudes, behavioural patterms and employee reputation in the workplace to resolve the issues tactfully.
On following these steps, HR managers can arrive at the best solution to help resolve conflicts, by providing new perspectives and outlook of looking at a scenario that led to conflicts in the workplace. Intervention by a HR manager and the approaches taken to resolve conflicts will contribute to building solid teamwork and prevent aggravation to impact serious business workings.
This article first appeared on HR in Asia.
Sandeep Aggarwal, Chief Financial Officer of Aon-Hewitt Asia-Pacific, shares his thoughts on the Workday finance and HR analytics platform. He says the cloud-based system is intuitive and easy-to-use, but still provides powerful insights across the functions.