An interesting article in HR Review highlights some new research from AXA PPP Healthcare which shows that it can cost SMEs £30,000 to replace an employee (https://goo.gl/LpvK7S).
It is trite to state that conflict and poor relationships at work lead to lower retention rates. Most HR professionals will be familiar with the old adage that people leave their bosses not their jobs. This article provides some further evidence of the sorts of savings that can be achieved by reducing the levels of conflict and improving the culture of an organisation. The financial benefits of lower staff turnover are undeniable. If introducing a workplace culture where there is less conflict only leads to the retention of one member of staff who otherwise would have left, the employer is going to be ‘quids in’.
According to an article in HR Review (https://goo.gl/kMe6Hi) Icelandic women are protesting at the 14% gender pay gap in Iceland by leaving work 14% early. How effective it will be only time will tell.
Of course, in the UK the gender pay gap is a bit less at 9.4% for full time employees, so a similar protest (even if it could be lawfully carried out) would have rather less impact.
Obviously, another way to approach the issue might be to find a way to start a dialogue with your employer or (dare we suggest?) seek to engage in workplace mediation. There is a time and a place for symbolic protest, but there should always be time to talk too.
A Few Key Pointers
The cost of workplace conflict is eye-wateringly high. Many of the costs are also hidden or difficult to calculate because of the unpredictable or unknown impacts that conflict can have on almost every aspect of a business – see The Unassailable Business Case. There are obvious costs such as legal bills for advice and representation, but in addition, there is a whole array of other costs, some of which can be calculated and others that can only be guessed at. These ‘hidden’ costs include (but are certainly not limited to) the following: Continue reading “How to Start Managing Workplace Conflict”
Combatting the Einstellung Effect
The Einstellung Effect (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstellung_effect) describes the marked tendency of humans to attempt to solve a new problem by approaching it in the same way as other problems that they have solved successfully in the past. This is something that we seem to do instinctively and can lead us to fail to find or to ignore simpler or more effective solutions – see the fascinating Luchins Water Jar Experiment (below). Interestingly, research shows very clearly that the more stressful the situation, the more prone we are to exhibit the Einstellung Effect. Of course, conflict is a notorious source of stress. Continue reading “Creative Mediation Solutions”
Fifteen Top Tips for Managers
1. Conflict is normal and unavoidable
Conflict is a normal and unavoidable aspect of human relationships. The really important thing is to be able to recognise conflict or the potential for conflict early enough to be able to avoid or minimise its capacity to cause damage.
2. Some conflict is positively good
If handled early and positively, with good communication skills the conflict situation can be harnessed to provide a whole range of potential benefits such as: Continue reading “Managing Workplace Conflict”
Workplace bullying is more common than you might think. The ACAS Helpline receives tens of thousands of calls every year about workplace bullying and that is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg. It is often said that people leave their boss and not their job and bullying (actual or perceived) is undoubtedly a factor in many cases. Surveys and research consistently show that bullying in the workplace is widespread and endemic. Continue reading “Workplace Bullying – Strategies for resolution and avoidance”
Staff turnover, absenteeism, loss of good people, time spent on people problems: dealing with staff issues frustrates most managers and is a major cost to any business. One of the main causes of disruption in the
work is conflict – between employees, between business partners, between managers and staff. A recent survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) revealed that 72% of HR managers said that employees contact them to resolve a workplace conflict and 72% to raise a grievance. (People Management January 2016 p.37) Continue reading “A Pragmatic Approach”
This article was originally published in the first edition of the UK Mediation Journal
I am going to stick my neck out and suggest that workplace mediation offers perhaps the largest untapped opportunity for cost-cutting and improving profitability in business in the UK today. The many benefits of a mediation culture, including lower levels of conflict, improved morale, improved staff retention and even improved relations with suppliers and customers are really important and are a big part of that business case, but are outside the scope of this article. I am going to focus here just on the cost savings in terms of management and HR time. Continue reading “The Unassailable Business Case”