Resolve Workplace Conflicts Early by Focusing on These Warning Signs

Running an HR department can be a whirlwind experience. One moment you’re doing the paperwork for an employee with a promising future, the next minute the same employee is disgruntled and ready to quit. While workplace conflicts are commonplace, the damage that can be done to morale and productivity can be serious. To avoid such scenarios, it is crucial that you dedicate time and energy to learning the best ways to handle conflict. Specifically, you want to work to reduce instances of conflict by spotting the early warning signs.

There are many telltale signs that indicate an employee is no longer happy with her or her circumstances... 

Look over these tips to figure out the best ways to handle someone who needs extra attention. 

Meetings Turn Into Arguments

Being able to work in a group is key when it comes to modern offices. Whether you handle all of your interactions in-person or you do many tasks online, effective communication is crucial. When an employee is stirring the pot in meetings or is using a tone that suggests frustration, it can be important to note. Usually, a person who feels like he or she cannot speak out when a problem arises in a meeting will allow resentment to build over time. This can eventually lead to a more explosive situation where a verbal fight breaks out during a meeting.

When you notice someone is holding back or getting emotionally tense during group gatherings in the workplace, reach out to this person. Try to avoid mentioning that you see any particular issues. State that you notice the person seems less focused than normal and ask if there is anything that can be said to you in confidence. In most cases, this early step will help a person feel heard and minimize the odds of further anger.

Workflow Is Disrupted

Another key indication that an employee is no longer happy is disrupted workflow. Of the many steps to start a business, creating a productive team is crucial. When members of a team do not feel appreciated, productivity often suffers. This is easiest to notice in younger employees or newer members of the team. Someone who is out to prove his or her worth will jump into tasks with enthusiasm during the first year of employment. Unfortunately, this will slow or stop altogether should the individual’s talents be neglected or consistently overlooked. 

To keep work going at a pace that you can feel comfortable with, you need to give your employees worthwhile attention. Bonuses are a perfect way to incentivize the team. The more money you throw at your staff, the happier they are. You can also go about an employee appreciation program where you reward individuals for going above and beyond. Find what makes the most sense for your office and move forward with these ideas in an experimental capacity. 

Gossip and Whispers Circulate

When a person starts to feel unhappy at his or her place of employment, he or she will likely find people who feel similarly. “Misery loves company” is quite a powerful philosophy when it comes to modern offices. Cliques tend to form around whether or not a crowds feels satisfied by the way the company operates. This will lead to gossip and people whispering at one another’s desks. While harmless on the surface, this tension can lead to more problematic situations and a general lack of positivity in the office.

Tackling this problem is not as straightforward as most. You can’t tell employees not to talk and whispering is technically the polite way to do so in an office setting. Still, you can try to work on the issues you hear being discussed. If employees are not happy about a new policy, consider addressing the concerns instead of getting emotionally upset about the gossip. When you’re in a position of power, you need to work for the people even when they are upsetting you. 

Trust Starts To Disappear

Trust is one of the hardest things to regain in an employee. When someone’s faith in your business is starting to wane, action needs to be taken. Restoring an employee’s trust in your business can take many forms, but it must be a concerted and honest effort in order for it to have weight. Empty gestures and words will definitely ring hollow, so be careful when you notice someone’s attitude about your company has changed.

Though workplace conflict is par for the course, you can still do your best to prepare in advance. Take the right actions and it will be much easier for you to make life easier for the people in your HR department and the company as a whole.

Related: 6 Ways to Get Positive Word of Mouth About Your Business