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HR Strategies for Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

The pressures of modern workday culture can be challenging at times. Long hours and tight deadlines can often act as catalysts for conflicts to arise between colleagues, while personality clashes and differences of opinion can cause negativity to seep into the workplace environment. In order to successfully overcome such challenges, Human Resources (HR) departments need to be equipped with the right know-how to successfully resolve such conflicts and help employees reach an amicable and productive working solution to their problems. In this article, we will explore some effective strategies HR can employ to facilitate conflict resolution in the workplace, helping to create a more respectful and positive culture for all employees. 

Identify the Cause for Conflict Resolution

conflict-resolution

Before a conflict can be resolved, it is first necessary for HR to determine the root cause. By speaking to the parties concerned, individually, a full account of their grievances can be aired and understood, enabling HR to assess the complaints and work toward developing a resolution plan that addresses the underlying issues. 

Part of this process could also entail facilitating open communication between the conflicting parties once the facts have been individually ascertained. In doing so, HR may be able to point out any misunderstandings or miscommunications that may have arisen, leading to a prompt resolution of the issue or by helping the parties reach a satisfactory middle ground. 

Mediate

To effectively address a conflict in the workplace, it is important that the parties involved feel fully heard and listened to. By creating a confidential space where they can achieve this, HR can work toward a faster resolution of the issue. 

Mediation offers a neutral platform for warring parties to express their views and concerns before an impartial facilitator. This may be an external party or an HR professional within the company who has a SHRM certification or other recognized accreditation that equips them with the skills needed to effectively mediate conflict. 

Through active listening, open-ended questions, and other techniques that promote understanding, HR professionals can encourage the parties involved to reach a mutually agreeable outcome to their dispute. 

Training and Education for Conflict Resolution

Alongside strategies that address conflict once it has arisen, those that seek to prevent it should also be a priority for HR departments. By providing employees with training and education on how to navigate challenging dynamics in the workplace, HR can mitigate the risk of conflicts arising. This could include offering employees workshops, seminars and other resources on the following areas: 

  • Effective communication techniques 
  • Active listening 
  • Conflict management styles 
  • Emotional intelligence 
  • Negotiation skills 
  • Problem-solving techniques 
  • Cultural competence 

In addition to this training and education, employees may also benefit from role-play exercises that present potential conflict scenarios for them to resolve with the oversight and guidance of an HR professional or external expert. 

Internal Communications

Employees should also be aware of the expectations and standards upheld by their employer. By providing them with access to conflict resolution policies and procedures, HR can ensure employees follow the appropriate channels should a conflict arise while also promoting a transparent workplace culture. 

By implementing this guidance, HR departments can ensure they have robust strategies in place to swiftly and adequately resolve conflicts in the workplace, leading to a more harmonious and positive working environment. 

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