Workplace conflict management usually arises due to issues regarding working conditions or associations with workmates. Workplace conflict can be valid or invalid, and they usually range from minor to major issues. Below are 7 tips on how to how to deal with workplace conflict for UK employers
1. Workplace conflict grievance letter
When there is workplace conflict, it is important that it is handled swiftly to avoid it from escalating. The first step in this process should be for the matter to be dealt with informally through discussions with the relevant parties, however, if this does not resolve matters, the best thing to do is to encourage the employee to write a grievance letter. The letter will set out the employees concerns. Once the employer receives the workplace grievance letter; the employer should first acknowledge it and then investigate the complaint as fully as possible.
2. Make sure you have in place a workplace conflict grievance procedure
The grievance procedure should;
- Indicate the person to be contacted in case of a workplace conflict
- Inform the employee that a grievance hearing can be organized in case the issue cannot be solved informally
- Indicate time-line for each stage of the process
- Outline how to appeal a grievance decision
- Process for gathering evidence or interviewing witnesses.
3. Ensure employees are well compensated
Most workplace conflict results due to salary issues. These grievances usually involve;
- Pay increments
- Bonus programs
- Qualifications for pay increment
- Pay equity for similar work across the company
Make sure you have a clear, fair and transparent approach for paying staff so that you are less likely to face a workplace grievance over pay.
4. Follow the Acas code of practice
The employer and employees should follow the Discipline and grievances at work: the Acas guide when resolving workplace grievances. Failure to do so can affect the results of your claims at the Employment Tribunal. The tribunal can raise the employees’ compensation by 25%.
5. Use workplace grievance mediation
The employee and the employer can decide to use mediation method to resolve the workplace grievance. The best thing about mediation is that it’s confidential. An independent and impartial third person is involved so as to help the employee and employer solve the issue in a fair manner.
6. Workplace conflict grievance hearing
The employer should arrange a grievance meeting as soon as possible with the employee to discuss the complaint and consider how it may be resolved. If new matters arise during the meeting it may be necessary to adjourn the grievance meeting to investigate these properly.
Employers should notify the employees so that they can prepare for the hearing. It’s the duty of the employer to conduct a thorough investigation and obtain statements of witness unable to attend the hearing. The employee should be made aware that they can bring a colleague or union representative if need be.
After looking into the grievance, the employer should make sure they inform the employee, in writing, of their decision. If the grievance is upheld the employer should state this and tell the employee what action they intend to take. If the grievance is not upheld the employer should state this and explain what their reasons for this are.
7. Provide alternative date and time
The employee might be unable to attend the hearing because of illness or any other reason. The employer should ensure that the employee is given a convenient date and time. However, the employee can make a decision if the employee fails to attend even after rearranging the hearing.
Workplace conflict management meeting