Office controversy and ensuing discussions can quickly overtake office productivity. The nature of the controversy can be related to your business, politics or personal issues involving employees, but regardless of the origin, it can quickly affect your business.
As workplaces become more diverse, opportunities for office controversy grow. However, there are ways to allow your employees to carry on discussions without conflict.
The Balance highlighted respect and dignity training as a way to remind your employees of the need to treat their coworkers with respect in all areas of interaction. Everyone is entitled to express their beliefs, but they’re not entitled to attack other’s beliefs. Providing helpful reminders of how to express disagreement can foster a skill that’ll impact all areas of your workplace.
The Society for Human Resource Management noted conflict resolution training is a useful tool when issues arise in the office. Unresolved controversies lead to office gossip and other unproductive activities, which spread quickly. Having an established method for conflict resolution helps stop the controversy before it paralyzes production.
When office controversy arises, investigate the source of the issue. Find out if it’s business-related or personal, and then meet with the involved parties to listen to them impartially. Sometimes having a third party involved can defuse a difficult situation.
Divert misunderstandings by encouraging meaningful conversation about the issue. Depending on the controversy’s nature, you may need to have a human resources professional (or a lawyer) aid in the resolution.
If the issue has to do with rumors concerning changes in your business, you should quickly communicate with employees, answer questions and clarify any confusion. Be honest with employees and continue communication until the issue is resolved.
Office harmony is essential to your business’ success. Set a standard of civility in your office that encourages respect for differences, and your employees will find that they can manage conflict without causing harm to relationships or your business.
Mary Parsons is retired from a 30-year career in the insurance industry. She worked in the claims department of a major insurance carrier as a claims adjuster, manager and a member of a catastrophe team. Since her retirement, she has developed a career as a freelance writer. As an insurance professional, she has been a contributor to several insurance websites.