Strategies for effective conflict management

Stephanie Thomas

Written By Hayley Saunders, HR Technical Consultant

26th June 2024

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Insights from the CIPD Good Work Index 2024

Findings from CIPD Good Work Index 2024, reveal that a quarter of UK employees have encountered workplace conflict in the past year. The study, highlights various forms of conflict experienced, with women, ethnic minorities, and disabled workers more likely to report such issues. Not surprisingly, those experiencing conflict were found to have lower job satisfaction and were more inclined to consider leaving their jobs. In this article by People Management Magazine, Hayley Saunders, HR Technical Consultant at AdviserPlus, shared her view that the CIPD report highlights the pressing need for organisations to prioritise effective conflict management strategies.

Harnessing the power of data is essential in uncovering the underlying causes of people issues in an organisation. By allowing the identification of trends and patterns for things like absence reasons, performance challenges, and any grievance reasons. For instance, a spike in complaints from a specific department or a trend of low morale scores in a particular team could indicate an underlying problem.

What can data do to address workplace conflict?

Data can help translate qualitative problems into something more tangible. For example, by tracking absenteeism reasons, if a trend around mental health is identified, there may be indication that more training or support may be required for managers or more sign-posting to support resources may be necessary.

Use the data to contextualise

Data can add context to individual situations. Let’s say an employee has a poor performance review. Data on their workload or recent changes in their role could help explain the reason behind the performance.

Here are some additional points to consider:

Combine the data and the detail

Uncovering the root cause is just the first step. Data needs to be coupled with more detail, like surveys and interviews, to brainstorm and test solutions to the problem.

Strategies for effective workplace conflict management

In terms of then mitigating workplace conflict, organisations can implement several key initiatives:

  • Clear communication channels that give employees safe places to report conflicts or grievances. And fit-for-purpose tools are vital for capturing the right information that enables insights to be draw, such as employee relations case management technology.
  • Empowering managers and addressing capability gaps is key. Organisations should commit to providing ongoing training to address manager capability gaps. Specify how training programmes will be implemented, evaluated, and adapted based on employee needs and feedback.
  • Regularly reviewing policies and processes is also essential. These should reflect the organisation’s commitment to respect and diversity. This includes anti-discrimination policies, codes of conduct promoting inclusive behaviour, and guidelines for handling cultural or identity-based conflicts sensitively and fairly. And, again, ensuring managers are well versed in these, with clear procedures and guided journeys for handling disputes and investigations to help ensure consistency in the way issues are managed.

By aligning these strategies organisations can create healthier, more inclusive workplaces where employees feel valued and conflicts are effectively managed, ultimately reducing turnover and improving overall job satisfaction.

Transform employee relations management

If the findings from the CIPD Good Work Index resonate with how conflict is managed in your organisation, book a free consultation now and learn how our market-leading software, empower® can transform your management of employee relations by empowering line managers, minimising risk and leading to significant business-changing ROI.

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