Resolving Employee Conflicts

So you’re in your office, working on important human resources business, when all of a sudden you hear shouting coming from outside your glass windows. You walk out to see Joe and Joanne fighting over a stapler, but it’s clear that this is about much more than a stapler. Years of submersed minor conflicts between the two have erupted in this battle over one of many unused staplers. What do you do to resolve this?

For the sake of useful advice, the stapler employee conflict leaves one of the two parties in the wrong. But you can’t just call someone out on it without hearing both sides of the story, so get the two in an isolated room. If they get irrational and say they are going to hash it out right there on the office floor, remind them that they are not in their homes and are in a professional place.

So you’ve isolated the employee conflict and the rest of the employees can get back to work; now it’s time to resolve this. You sit both employees down across from one another and set the story straight. Listen to the facts and judge for yourself who is right and who is wrong, but don’t go by opinion. You have to settle this by the book without any bias so that none of them can say you are picking sides which can create problems further down the road. Once you decide who is right and who is wrong, the argument is settled. If the loser is still unhappy and causing trouble, tell them to get a grip or go home and wait for you to call him or her back. That should quiet them down.

Now that they’re calm, you have to reprimand both of them. It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong, they were both disrupting the professional work place and need to be reminded of proper office etiquette. They don’t need to be punished (unless it got really out of hand) but a slap on the wrist is the way to go.

The key to resolving employee conflicts is to first isolate the situation. Then you have to resolve the situation and finally reprimand both parties. That’s the best way to resolve these employee conflicts with as little trouble as possible.

Have you ever had a situation occur in your office like the one described above? Tell us how you handled it or would handle it in the comments!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by tanakawho