Handle Employee Conflict the Right Way

Employee conflict is going to crop up. Employees are human, after all, and humans come into conflict with each other.

A manager’s main issue with employee conflict crops up when the conflict starts to hurt workforce morale or productivity and becomes a distraction. Most employee conflict is minor – one employee likes the office warm and another prefers it cooler. One employee feels another takes too long of a lunch (she’s five minutes late often), delaying the time the first employee can head out to lunch herself. And so on.

Take a look below at some tips we’ve put together for those times the conflict is much more disruptive, and you’ve decided that  it’s time to step in to help resolve or manage employee conflict.

  • Meet with each employee privately. This is critical because you will want to let each employee tell their side of the story without having to hear – or interrupt – the other employee as they tell their story.
  • Let the employee know that the conflict has escalated to the point that it shouldn’t have, and you’ve had to step in. Mention that you feel this is inappropriate behavior for the workplace because the conflict has become disruptive.
  • You’ll need to ascertain if the conflict is interpersonal in nature or whether it’s related to the workplace. An interpersonal conflict is the type that could happen on or off the job, but a workplace-related conflict is one that’s created as a result of some type of workplace structure.
  • Your goal as manager in resolving the conflict is to make sure that you don’t take sides. You need to ensure that your team members remain focused on solving the problem. Don’t let the conflict devolve into personal vendettas.
  • Ask the employees to state what they want from the other worker. Ask them to both come up with a solution, one which requires each to make sacrifices. If you feel the solutions aren’t appropriate, you can come up with solutions of your own. Again, make sure each employee has to give something up.
  • Depending on how serious and disruptive the conflict has been, you may have to place a warning in each employee’s work file. Make sure each individual knows this and, when you have typed up the report, ask each employee to sign the report applicable to their actions.
  • If possible, have another meeting with the employees a month later to see how the employees feel their conflict resolution is progressing. Maintain close contact with each employee for the next several weeks and months yourself to see how the conflict is de-escalating.

When looking for great employees for your Redlands company’s temporary, temp-to-hire or direct-hire opportunities, call upon the recruiting and staffing experts at Arrow Staffing. We’ve been helping Inland Empire job seekers and companies find each other for more 40 years. We look forward to hearing from you.

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