Significantly, corporate culture – at the heart of company growth and profitability – can be shattered by such conflicts if mediation is not applied at the early stages.
The Costs of Workplace Disputes
According to a study in 2021 for the conciliation service ACAS, workplace conflict costs UK businesses £28.5 billion annually – about £1000 per employee across the country.
- That was the financial cost. The impact on company culture, the build-up of staff resentments, the reduction in employee satisfaction and the effect on staff retention was significant:
- In the year of the study, 10 million people experienced conflict at work
- 50% reported suffering from stress, anxiety or depression
- 900,000 took time off work
- 500,000 resigned
- 300,000 were dismissed
Main types of disputes
- Every dispute has its own particularities, but the main areas of workplace dispute are:
- Perceived Discrimination and cultural conflicts
- Grievances relating to management style and approach
- Performance management
- The management of change and corporate restructuring
- Management ‘behaviours’, such as bullying and harassment
- Communication misunderstandings
- Disagreement with decisions
Maintaining dialogue, not ‘negotiation’
For the sake of employee well-being, early intervention is essential.
This provides the best chance for the aggrieved parties to willingly open a dialogue, rather than get into the formalities of a negotiation.
In many cases, passing the issue to the HR Department is not the right solution as the aggrieved party perceives the corporate vested interest is still there.
An alternative approach is to use an Independent Mediator who can quickly unlock the blockages, allowing resolutions agreeable to all sides to emerge before expensive litigation or serious mental stresses arise.