I’ve got employees that have fallen out; what can I do?

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I’ve got employees that have fallen out; what can I do?

Conflict at work is inevitable; not everyone will agree or share the same views all the time.  Some conflict can be positive, but negative conflict like bullying or personality clashes can harm working relationships and undermine teamwork.
When negative conflict arises, it can have a huge impact on your business, such as loss of production, under performance and sickness absence.
When employees fall out, effective intervention from you as their employer can help ensure that the impact of the conflict on working relationships and productivity is minimal.  Not only that, but it can also improve health and well-being among staff, help keep  customers and clients happy and ensure your business stays successful.

So, what causes conflict among employees in the workplace?

Some of the common causes of conflict in the workplace are:

  • Differences in personality
  • Differences in working styles
  • Miscommunication
  • Levels of support
  • Poor management
How can you manage conflict among employees at work?

1)Know your team. By getting to know your employees as individuals, you’ll be able to anticipate potential conflict, understand personal pressures affecting them and their preferred work styles, and use this information  as a preventative measure.
2)  Teamwork. Try and encourage employees to respect each other’s views and to be open and honest with each other in a non-critical way, as this will have a lesser impact on the business.
3) Don’t brush it under the carpet. Conflict will not just disappear.  Deal with the problem as soon as you are aware of it before it has chance to escalate into something more serious.
4) Be supportive and listen.  Make yourself available to talk and show empathy.  Don’t prejudge, ask questions and ensure you truly listen to employee concerns.  People have different opinions, and you should not be critical.Try to see both sides of the story.
5) Promote diversity.  Look to promote a culture that recognises different opinions and attitudes, and be clear that certain behaviours such as bullying and harassment will not be tolerated –  and act on them if they arise.
6) Informal Resolution.  If you do have to deal with a fall out between employees, aim to deal with it quickly and informally where possible.  If it can’t be dealt with between the employees themselves, then take ownership, listen to each side of the story and try to reach a resolution.
7) Formal Resolution.  Sometimes it gets to the point of no return and informal measures are not having the desired effect, despite every attempt to resolve fall outs informally. In this case, an employee has the right to raise a formal grievance if they are not satisfied with informal approaches and the business has an obligation to investigate and follow a formal process.

Author: Wendy Cresswell Assoc CIPD, HR & Employment Law Advisor
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