Nearly every workplace will experience employee conflicts from time to time. It’s an inevitable part of running a business. But it isn’t something to take lightly, and proper steps need to be taken to resolve the situation. Here are five ways to handle employees who don’t get along.
Get to the Root of the Issue
Some issues will only be minor disputes. However, others may be more serious in nature and could involve harassment or discrimination. If it’s the latter, you’ll need to consult the EEOC guidelines. In more extreme instances, this may require immediate termination. Whatever the case, you’ll need to identify what prompted it, which will dictate your course of action.
Listen to Both Employees
There are always two sides to every story. So you won’t necessarily know what really happened until you listen to both employees objectively. It’s usually best to have a one-on-one meeting with each of your employees and have them give you their story. Doing so should paint a clear picture and lets your employees feel acknowledged.
Promptly Handle the Situation
The sooner you deal with the conflict the better. If it’s something simple like different views on how to handle a project, you can come up with a solution to prevent any further arguments. If it’s something major that violates EEOC guidelines, you may need to take disciplinary action or even terminate someone.
Document the Conflict
Documenting what happened serves two purposes. First, it can protect your company from a potential lawsuit and keep your reputation intact. Second, it makes it easier to spot a pattern of problem behavior. So be sure to keep a detailed record of the incident for future reference.
Educate Your Staff on Conflict Resolution
Finally, it’s important your employees learn how to work problems out on their own without constant intervention from you. That’s why it’s worth educating your team on the fundamentals of conflict resolution. Some specific point to cover include:
- Accepting different perspectives and ideas
- Being open to other types of working styles
- Learning how to compromise and collaborate
- Learning how to discuss issues thoughtfully in an open environment
Note there are formal courses available, like Conflict Resolution Training from the Compliance Training Group, that can help you with this.
It’s hard to prevent complications from ever arising in the workplace. But following these five tips should help you effectively deal with them and quickly get things back on track with minimal disruptions.
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