Navigating Workplace Conflict – 3 Ways to Prevent Escalation

Illistration of 4 people in an office openly arguing with one other worker

When a variety of people spend extensive time together, working on projects, collaborating on customer accounts and sharing their habits, their personal opinions and work ethic, it’s hardly surprising that workplace conflict arises. In most traditional working environments, these kinds of disputes are inevitable, however, that doesn’t mean that management and business owners shouldn’t step in to prevent these conflicts from reaching boiling point.

When your employees are unhappy, it’s not only reflected in their work, but it creates a toxic working environment that can lead to an HR nightmare and ultimately, employment tribunals. Business owners who keep their heads firmly in the sand and fail to navigate or prevent the escalation of these conflicts are vulnerable to employment law claims and reputational damage. Even company executives aren’t immune from this issue, with executive and board level employment advice one of the most sought after legal services today – you can find out more about C-suite executive employment solicitors, by clicking the link.

In this post, we’ll explore how to navigate workplace conflict with 3 ways you can prevent escalation, both in the boardroom and on the front line of your business.

Don’t Avoid It

We’ve mentioned how inevitable workplace conflict can be. Therefore employers and management should be ready to tackle these issues head on to prevent escalation. When conflict rears its ugly head it’s time to be proactive, this means the immediate intervention of any issues that you become aware of and those that are brought directly to your attention by those involved. By acting promptly, you’re demonstrating that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and that your business is committed to its positive working environment policy.

Avoid sitting on any information given to you by an employee, whether it’s about belittling comments in the breakroom, uncomfortable remarks about their attire, or a strong case of harassment or prejudice, act upon this information immediately. Begin a paper trail and document everything as you find out more and undertake an investigation.

Consult With Your Legal Team

Every business that wants to remain compliant and avoid an infraction on their employment policies, should regularly consult with an employment law team. Having a group of experts waiting in the wings to offer legal advice and how to approach issues around conflict could be the difference between making the right decision or having your business dragged through an employment tribunal. Your lawyers will advise you on the best way to avoid an escalation over these important matters, which could be related to discrimination, pay, holiday leave or even wrongful dismissal.

Listen More and Talk Less

Many workplace conflicts escalate due to a breakdown in communications. Active listening is a powerful tool that all management should be trained to use to the business’s advantage. Listening well not only helps those involved feel listened to and understood, but it also means you can gather the right information and details which can bring a resolution to the conflict, helping the two parties come together and resolve the issue before it goes any further.

Final Thoughts

If you have concerns over workplace conflict, reach out to an employment law solicitor as soon as possible.

Rebecca Grewcock
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