Conflict isn’t all bad, yes it is, no it isn’t …

by | May 11, 2021

Resignations, dismissals and absences are the bane of every business owner’s life, and not surprising, when the research from ACAS* tells us these issues related to conflict, cost businesses around a whopping £14.7bn annually!

Nearly half a million employees resign each year and almost one million employees are absent directly because of conflict. It’s estimated that on average, each grievance costs a business nearly £1k in management time alone.

My extensive experience of dealing with (and resolving) conflicts at work – disciplinaries and grievances, suggests that £1k is a conservative estimate – it doesn’t take into account all the associated costs: the dent in the individual’s productivity, the impact on team morale, the distraction for management, absence (understandably so common during times of conflict), any pay in lieu of notice and then the subsequent recruitment – sorry it makes for a grim list. And there’s just one last bit of bad news which is that conflict is anticipated to increase as organisations adapt to new ways of working, post pandemic.

Not all conflict is bad news of course – I often think it suggests there are lively, engaged employees who care enough about the work they do to voice a difference of opinion, and an employer doesn’t want to crush that spirit. I have some guidance on managing ‘disruptive’ employees – contact me and I’ll send you that resource free of charge.

Anyway, getting back to dealing with negative conflict, there are simple actions that employers can take to reduce the potential burden of these problems. Naturally, as an HR Consultant supporting SMEs, I’m going to recommend getting the right people practices in place (which I can help with 😊), but if there’s only one action you take when you’ve read this, make it to embed ‘clarity’ into your people management practices. So much conflict arises because there isn’t clarity – about who’s doing what, who’s accountable, who holds the budget, what’s expected, when it’s due, and so on ….

The important element of clarity is included in QSUK’s ‘Compliance and Productivity’ assessment – and a quick call or email to us today could start you on that journey to greater clarity and better business.

*as cited by People Management (CIPD)