Work disputes are a fact of life today. It’s important for employers to have the right policies in place to handle work disputes most effectively. Handling them in the right way can diffuse situations that could become magnified to the point of exploding, resulting in high employee turnover. Resolving them correctly can actually help to solidify the work community instead of fracturing it.
Common Work Disputes
Relationship problems in the work force can occur in many different forms. Some of these are as follows:
Jealousy between employees over salary or job
Difficulties getting along with a new boss
Resentments over sudden increase in work load
Legal allegations of impropriety
Basic personality differences
Conflicts can be between employees, with a manager, or with the company as a whole. It’s important to know which of these is involved. Complicating the matter is the fact that the real reason for dispute may be something quite different than what is showing on the surface. For instance, an employee may be having problems at work because of problems at home.
General Rules For Conflict Resolution
Many work problems can be resolved just by waiting another day. Regardless of the reasons for conflict, it’s wise for an employer not to get involved unless conflict is affecting work in some way.
At that point, unless the immediate manager is the reason for the problem, he should act as an unbiased mediator between the two parties.
Sometimes all that is needed is to clear the air by allowing employees to voice their concerns to each other. At other times, a manager will have to make a resolution based on his understanding of the conflict. If a conflict is truly inflammatory and cannot be resolved by the immediate department head, the help of upper management may be needed. It may also be needed if the unresolved conflict is between an employee and his department manager.
If The Conflict Involves A Legal Issue
Companies should already have written policies in place that let employees know at the time of hiring what behaviour will not be tolerated, and what abuses are legally actionable. Even small companies should make these explicitly known to employees. Doing so lets workers know what the ground rules are before they begin, and many legal conflicts can be avoided.
If a legal allegation of misconduct is involved, it’s wise to step in early and quickly to attempt to resolve it, if possible, particularly if it involves complaints against the business as a whole. It is important to keep records of the process of the complaint, and it’s advisable as well to consult your attorney early so that he can be a part of the process of resolution from the beginning.
Work disputes can affect a company’s bottom line. There are also some disputes that are inevitable. However, a professional attitude of mediation at the right time can dispel many conflicts before they become a serious problem.