Managing disputes between staff members

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Conflicts in the workplace can create an uncomfortable and awkward environment for the employees involved. Not only those in the middle of the dispute but for their colleagues as well. Disputes normally take place when employees feel they have been mistreated, bullied, or harassed. It’s vital that employers prevent this from taking place in the workplace as they have a legal obligation to ensure no one is discriminated against or harassed.  

Managers need to intervene in conflicts because they are likely to affect employee absenteeism. If the workplace environment is uncomfortable, it will put people off from wanting to come to work. It could even lead to an employee leaving their job because they cannot cope anymore. Management should be involved with the situation from the beginning till the end.  The longer a situation is left, the worse it becomes. Therefore, its important employers deal with the situation as soon as possible.

Creating a supportive workplace

A supportive workplace is essential because employees need to feel as if they can report an issue or raise their concerns with their employer. If employees cannot trust their employer with dealing a dispute they are involved in; they will keep quiet and not tell anyone. This will make the situation worse. The sooner the employee knows their employee will support them with any issues, the quicker the employer can resolve the situation.

Supporting employees will increase their satisfaction. A happy workforce will increase productivity levels which overall benefits the business.

If employees cannot report an issue to their employer, they should feel confident to speak to one of their colleagues. This gives them someone else who they can speak to. For employees, discussing their problems can feel as if a weight has been lifted off their shoulders because they don’t have to keep quiet.

How to effectively manage disputes between staff members

Managers can look at meeting with the employees involved in the dispute behind closed doors. Discussing the issue in the middle office will not work. Employees will argue, and the situation will worsen, negatively affecting those who aren’t directly involved. Resolving the issue privately gives all parties a chance to speak and express how they feel in a calm environment.

Employers should have an up-to-date policy that effectively deals with disputes. Following this will make it a lot easier for managers because they will have a better understanding of how to resolve the dispute.

Training should be provided to managers, so they know how to deal with disputes. For example, managers may find it difficult to discuss sensitive issues, therefore, it’s important they are trained, so they know how to handle sensitive conversations.  

If you would like some advice or guidance on managing disputes between staff members, please get in touch with a member of the oneHR team who will be happy to advise.


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