8 Conflict Resolution Practices for Your HR Department

17 Oct · 6 min read

8 Conflict Resolution Practices for Your HR Department

As workplace conflict is common, effective conflict resolution strategies for HR must also be shared commonly.

Any workplace disagreement that disrupts the workflow is considered a conflict. It is frequently a situation in which people perceive a threat; this threat may be physical, emotional, or a grab for power or status. It is usually a gut feeling rather than a specific threat that occurs. Conflict can also arise when people attempt to persuade others to change their behavior or gain an unfair advantage.

"Another source of contention is that reactions are based on personal perceptions of the situation rather than unbiased viewpoints." That is, sometimes our intent differs from what others perceive. People communicate or respond to certain things based on their perceptions, not the purpose of what is happening. As a result, we must be extremely cautious about our communication style, body language, and how things happen in the workplace so that employees can interpret the intent of what we're trying to accomplish." In a recent BLR webinar, Di Ann Sanchez explained. This emphasizes that conflict is frequently based on perception, and HR must get to the bottom of the problem.

When should HR get involved?

Although situations can vary greatly across industries, there are some commonly followed standards. The simple answer is that HR should become involved in any situation in which an employee violates the company's worker conduct policy. The level of involvement and the consequences for these violations should be established ahead of time so that employees understand what action the company will take based on their actions.

When HR is involved, many moving parts come together to successfully de-escalate and resolve the situation. To help you better deal with this challenging subject, we've compiled advice from a panel of HR experts on how to effectively manage workplace conflict.

Steps for HR To Solve The Conflict

Conflict resolution is the process of resolving a conflict by reaching a mutually beneficial outcome. Here are five conflict resolution practices that HR should implement:

1. Listen to Both Parties

Sit with the parties in question and listen to each side's version of what's going on. Feel compassion for each individual. Inquire as to what they think should be completed and try to comprehend why they think that. Provide resolutions as well. The important thing is to demonstrate that you care about their situation while reminding them that you are all there to do a job for the benefit of the company.

2. Pay Attention To Unsaid Conflicts

Disagreements are not always discussed. A new employee, for example, is unlikely to speak up about something with which he or she disagrees right away. The manager must establish trust with their direct reports and participate actively in team activities.

You must read the signs. At a meeting or during a conversation, you may notice negative body language such as rolling the eyes, a quick facial flash of disgust or disbelief, leaning over to comment on the person sitting next to them, or even a quiet (or not-so-quiet) snort.

Be on the lookout for any negative statements, sarcastic remarks, or barbs. Keep an eye out for any pushback in employees' actions. You might notice your team members complaining to each other and then stop when you walk up to them.

3. Understand the Conflict

Before attempting to assist in the resolution of a problem, you should be as informed as possible about it. The more you know about a problem, the better equipped you are to either inform human resources or provide a solution that is acceptable to both parties.

To gain a better understanding of the problem, the American Management Association suggests asking employees a series of questions.

  • "How did this incident begin?" is one possible question.
  • "Were there any other incidents before this one?"
  • "Are there any striking similarities or connections between the recent conflict and previous events?"
  • "When did you first notice you were upset?"

Make an effort to give equal attention to each party involved.

This does not imply that you must track your time down to the minute, but you must avoid allowing one person to dominate your perception of the situation.

4. Don’t Disagree Virtually

Although many of us enjoy venting, email is not a good medium for dealing with conflict in general. Even if you're a good writer, saying everything you need to say at 40 words per minute is simply impossible.

It's too difficult to include any emotional undertones. What you intended to say can easily be misconstrued or misunderstood.

Emails are also indestructible. You can't undo what you've done. When you're excited, it's easy to write something that you later regret.

Teach your employees that if they have something unpleasant to say to someone, they should go see them in person, call them, or ask if they are available to video chat. It will be much more fruitful in terms of interaction. Taking notes is fine, but they should not rely solely on what they've written to resolve the conflict.

5. Establish Communication and Guidelines

Before holding a formal meeting between two people, have both parties agree on a few meeting guidelines. Request that they express themselves calmly and as unemotionally as possible. Make them decide or try to understand each other's points of view. Inform them that if they violate the guidelines, the meeting will be terminated.

The ultimate goal of conflict resolution is for both parties to resolve their differences. Allow both parties to express their opinions while also sharing yours. Make an effort to facilitate the meeting and assist them in identifying the root cause of the conflict.

6. Investigate Other Staff Members

A conflict resolution protocol is a set of procedures that instruct employees on how to handle workplace disagreements. Establishing a protocol is critical, but keep in mind that people are more likely to support initiatives that they helped create.

The human resources department is frequently tasked with developing a conflict resolution protocol. However, as a business leader, you should ensure that your team members or employees have the opportunity to provide feedback.

7. Focus On Situation

Just about all people have been working with at least one "problematic individual." Avoid your preconceived notions about people. Person X may not be the most pleasant person, or they may simply have a personality clash with someone on your team. This is not to say they don't have a valid problem or issue. Concentrate on determining and resolving the conflict. If, after careful and thorough analysis, you determine that the individual is the problem, then concentrate on the individual.

8. Act Decisively

Make your decision and act after gathering information, speaking with all parties involved, and reviewing all circumstances. Don't let the situation linger. If you take too long to make a decision, it may harm your credibility and their perception of you. They may think you're too weak, too uncaring, or both to deal with the problem. Although not everyone will agree with your decision, they will know where you stand.

Final Thoughts

When you and your managers are in charge of a large number of employees, you may be unaware of any conflicts that may arise. Employees may believe that their problem should be ignored because it will be an inconvenience to HR or their supervisor.

A situation that may not bother you may have a significant impact on another employee's day-to-day work. This is why management and human resources must create a safe environment for employees to express their concerns and opinions.

Conflict resolution in the workplace is frequently handled by HR. A truly inspired human resources professional will not only manage it effectively but will also recognize the hidden opportunities it provides to improve the overall work environment.

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