- A new survey by Accountemps shows that chief finance officers spend on average 15% of their time, or six hours a week, managing conflicts among staff. The staffing firm says the latest findings are similar to studies conducted since 1991.
- Mike Steinitz, Accountemps’ executive director, says, "It's unrealistic to expect workers to get along all the time. But not every issue needs to be escalated to management.” Steinitz said that employees who handle conflicts tactfully and diplomatically are positioned to assume future leadership roles.
- Accountemps recommends that employees handle conflicts by trying to see their coworker’s viewpoint, not letting conflicts fester, asking HR or a manager to mediate if a resolution doesn’t transpire and avoiding grudges against coworkers.
Employers should encourage and expect workers to handle their own disputes. In fact, when employees settle their own disagreements, HR and other managers may never even know a conflict exists.
Once an unresolved conflict gets management’s attention, HR will undoubtedly need to play the role of 'safe harbor,' intervening in order to find a solution. This could lead to an unwanted resolution for both parties, like a job transfer for one or more of them to keep the peace, or a disciplinary action if the conflict is adversely affecting other workers.
As Steinitz says, not all workers are going to get along all the time. But employers should cultivate a culture of civility and mutual respect, and that means HR should communicate to employees that no serious conflict will go unresolved.