It’s well documented that employee stress is a growing concern for organizations today. Stress that negatively impacts the workplace may come from work, personal or family sources.
Workplace dynamics are as unique as each organization and should be aligned to the organizational culture. Having strong Human Resource Management is important to balancing workplace dynamics.
A key role for Human Resources (HR) is to act as an employee advocate. External mediators act as partners to assist with disputes and training. Mediation provides a process that is fair, balanced and confidential. Whether founded or not, a common criticism of HR partners is that they are in place only to support management and employee issues are not dealt with fairly.
The impact of employee stress and/or conflict to an organization may be a decline in productivity, deterioration of performance, absenteeism, health complaints and/or low morale. Office politics, harassment, capabilities not matching job roles or sometimes just the sheer volume of work can be factors adding to stress in the workplace. Many employees also have family or home-life stress that can contribute to some of the negative forces in the workplace.
Competing work and family demands can cause conflicts and stress to become intertwined in the various areas. Workplace mediation and support initiatives are designed to help employees manage their home life issues so that they don’t impede their success at work. In addition, support of their work-life issues so that they don’t negatively impact their home life.
Sometimes it is just about giving someone the forum to have a voice, be heard and participate in solutions.
Solutions that Human Resources are beginning to partner with Mediation providers vary greatly and are specific to each organization. Some of the solutions are listed below:
Solutions for Employees
It’s a fact that family life spills over into work life. The work/life balance is not at all times balanced. It’s important to understand that assisting employees in resolving family conflicts leads to increased morale, increased productivity and a very loyal team.
Preventing “people conflict” problems from resulting in poor organizational decisions will increase effectiveness and efficiency in the workplace. Management comes with the necessity to manage people conflict on a regular, if not daily basis. Often these skills are not part of a corporate training program and require an outside provider to partner with.
Solutions for Management
(If there is a union and a collective agreement this can compliment traditional collective bargaining or grievance procedures.)
Conflict can arise from individual behaviour, diversity, office politics, harassment, misaligned goals or performance issues to name a few. Many times using a neutral third party that is not part of the organization can help guide employees to resolution in a confidential, effective and efficient manner.
Develop effective techniques, skills and attitudes for handling communication and workplace conflict to leaders, project teams and employees.
In a perfect world, organizations have no imperfections, employees are happy and achieving career success while workplace dynamics are always positive and lead to increased profits. In reality any environment that brings people together with different culture, race, ethnicity, gender, knowledge and past experience is the perfect breeding ground for issues to arise.
How an organization chooses to manage these issues however can make the world of difference between success and failure.
Julie Gill Q.Med
Owner and Principal Mediator