How to Reduce the Cost of Workplace Conflict

Posted by LADR on Jan 12th, 2015 in Workplace Facilitation

Conflict is an inevitable part of life. In the workplace, conflict cannot be entirely eliminated, but it can be properly managed. When legal disputes arise in the workplace, they can consume the company and its employees. They are costly, not only from a financial perspective, but also from a personal and emotional perspective. They are time consuming, and can be so distracting to management or to the individual that they impact one’s ability to do much else. Businesses face loss of employee productivity, costs associated with hiring and training of replacement employees, customer dissatisfaction, and reduced employee morale. The fallout from a lengthy trial can be overwhelming. In addition to the possibility that personal and employment-related relationships may end because of conflict, the financial costs can be extraordinary and destroy a company’s bottom line. Fortunately, there is a good alternative to settling workplace conflict through expensive litigation.

Mediation Offers a Less Expensive Alternative for Resolving Workplace Disputes

Mediation is an alternative to litigation for achieving conflict resolution. It is a process in which an impartial and trained individual helps employers and employees reach a resolution of a legal dispute voluntarily, without the continued cost of litigation. Through mediation, the parties have an opportunity to communicate their concerns directly with each other, or through counsel. Employees have a voice, and can feel confident that their concerns will be taken seriously. The employer too will have a chance to raise its concerns, and will save not only money, but potentially the employment relationships at stake as well. Even employees not directly involved in the dispute will experience the good will associated with the efforts made by the employer to resolve the conflict, rather than fight the dispute.

Employers should consider establishing a written policy that addresses the benefits of early mediation for workplace disputes. Employers should train management level employees to recognize issues early on and encourage employees to communicate about the problem. When necessary, a third-party mediator can be brought in to help the parties address the problem. When mediation is used to settle workplace conflict, be sure to document the long-term outcomes and determine if solutions offered are permanent.

Finding a skilled mediator is an important part of settling workplace disputes successfully. We can help. To learn more about mediation or to schedule a consultation, contact our office online or call 303-798-2533.