Much time, expense and stress is expended on employer/employee disputes. Some people choose to ignore early signs of friction but this may increase hostility.
For employers, it would be wise to include an early dispute resolution mechanism as part of good employment relations practice. Dealing with problems at the outset can reduce the many hours lost in staff absences and in attempts by management to resolve disputes that have escalated out of control so that the workplace is disrupted. It takes a great deal of time, effort and money to attract and train good staff. Retaining such employees is the more difficult part. Once employees have lost confidence in the ability of their employer to sort out frictions, then all of that time, effort and expense will be lost when the employee decides to move on.
For employees, many factors within the workplace may lead to disputes. If an employee feels undervalued or passed over, this may lead to resentment which will in turn jeopardise relations at work and impact upon work output. It is important that employees feel able to air their grievances without fear.
Management may also feel undervalued or overworked. Many people in management positions fear disclosing their feelings for fear of appearing to be weak or incapable. Again, it is important that all staff feel able to discuss their respective positions without fear of reprisals.
Mediation lends itself well to workplace disputes. As an informal form of dispute resolution, mediation can be used at the first sign of any problem. Although employers may consider training their own staff in the skills of mediation, when the problem is between management and employees, consideration ought to be given to calling in an independent mediator so that the process is seen to be impartial and not biased towards the employer.
For our latest blog on workplace mediation, click here: workplace mediation blog
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