Peace on earth may not be attainable, but peace in the workplace is a must if you want your small business to thrive. Avoiding conflicts entirely is impossible, but a good manager can resolve conflicts and keep them to a minimum. All you need is to put a plan in place to help prevent conflicts from arising in the first place and to resolve them when they do crop up. Keeping a peaceful work environment benefits both employers and employees by:
- Allowing employees to avoid added stress at work
- Enabling more productive and effective work days
- Attracting good employees and retaining them
- Creating a team environment
Communicate company policiesIn your company handbook, include your policy on dealing with everything from small disagreements to workplace violence and have each new employee read and sign the handbook. Be sure to instruct new hires on the proper ways to bring conflict to the attention of managers.
University of California-Davis.
Deal with conflict immediatelyBy letting conflict between employees or anger towards management fester, you show employees that you condone the behavior and you allow your workplace atmosphere to become negative.
OSHA, part of the U.S. Department of Labor, offers a wealth of resources for dealing with potential violence in the workplace.
Train managers and employeesGive your managers and employees the tools they need to deal with conflict effectively. Offer training opportunities that can help them improve their mediation skills, problem-solving skills and communication skills.
Foster teamworkWhen employees feel like they're part of a team, conflict is less likely. Encourage a team atmosphere with team-building exercises and by rewarding group achievements.
- Avoid taking sides in conflicts. Instead acknowledge the conflict and have both parties come up with joint solutions.
- If an employee has threatened another employee physically, immediate action should be taken. There are conflicts where the only resolution is removing the employee. You should report the threat to the authorities and follow through by terminating the employee.
- When conflict arises between two employees, meet with them together so all communication is open, avoiding the chance of misinterpretation and the appearance of favoritism.