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How to keep the peace between employees

In an ideal world everyone would get along. However, society is made up of many different personalities, which can cause clashes. Never has this been truer than in a working environment. When you think about it, we can spend upwards of 8-hours a day with colleagues, which is often more time than we spend with our loved ones. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that conflicts can happen. Quite often it can be a dispute that occurred between staff members outside of work, but their differences spills over into the workplace.

When members of a team don’t get along, this can be really hard to manage, which in turn can create a poor, unhealthy atmosphere. The knock-on effect is that people’s mental health can suffer and the employer can be left liable if they don’t deal with it early enough.

In order to keep the peace between employees, you’ll want to successfully navigate any bumps in the road and be proactive about managing conflict. In order to effectively do so, you’ll need to be aware of what to look out for. Furthermore, a clearly outlined procedure for reporting issues is vital.

So how exactly do you keep the peace between employees? Here’s everything you need to know…

The tell-tale signs of conflict in the workplace

While this will differ between workplaces, here are the common signs to watch out for:

An argument: Probably the easiest one to spot, a heated exchange between employees may mean that tensions are rising. This can be awkward for other team members and should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Placing the blame: If you notice that an employee frequently blames another for work not being completed correctly or on time, this can be an indicator of a conflict bubbling beneath the surface.

Increased levels of absence: If conflict is occurring and an employee can’t see a way to resolve it, this can lead to stress, which in turn, may mean a spike in the number of days taken off work.

A change in atmosphere: The thing about conflict is that it can have a knock-on affect. If you notice a sudden change in staff morale overall, it may be the case that conflict between one or more staff members is at play.


Top tips for effectively resolving conflict between employees

Being efficient is key in preventing conflicts from further impacting your workforce.  Julie Pollock From Consult HR shares her Top tips on how to tackle tension between employees:

Prevention is better than the cure: While there’s no guarantee that all employees will get on, trying to create a positive working environment is a good approach to take. For example, regular team building days are a good way to bring staff together, helping to prevent conflict in the long-run.

Carry out one-to-one meetings: It is important that employees feel that the channels of communication are open. Those involved should feel that they can approach a manager and bring the issue to their attention. This gives them an opportunity to talk in private and share their side of the issue.

Get involved early: In my experience, reacting when the signs are there at an early stage is crucial. Speak to those staff members involved and if appropriate, try to resolve their differences in an impartial way without taking sides, encourage them to put their differences behind them and move on.

Ignoring the signs and hoping that it will resolve itself without your involvement is only allowing a toxic environment to explode in your workplace, which will decimate a team.

Investigate the dispute: If you establish from discussions with the staff that there is something a bit more serious involving inappropriate actions of employee(s), you should consider investigating the issue fully.  Speak to all parties concerned to get their side of the story to establish the facts and determine if potential disciplinary action should be considered.

Have a policy in place: The purpose of company policies are to protect both your business and your employees. Therefore, your company handbook and/or Policies should outline the procedure that staff members should follow in order to try and resolve conflict.

Get expert advice: The best piece of advice we can offer is not to sweep conflict under the rug. Leaving issues unresolved has the potential to spread, impact employees’ health and, in the worst-case scenario, lead to tribunals. If you are worried about conflict in the workplace, get in contact with Consult HR and we can discuss a plan to move forward in the best possible way.

For more information, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or email: julie@consulthr.co.uk to discuss further.


What to do when an employee asks for a pay rise

It’s inevitable – as an employer or manager, at one time or another, an employee will ask for a pay rise. In fact, according to payscale.com, 37% of workers have asked for a wage increase from their current employer.

Perhaps the time is right as you’ve just been reviewing salaries. Or maybe, it’s completely caught you off guard and you’re not quite sure how to respond. This request is quite a common one but some business owners struggle with how to deal with it. So with this in mind, Consult HR’s Julie Pollock shares her top tips on what you should do in this situation.

The most important top tip we could possibly give you is not to react and regret it. When an employee asks for a pay rise – whether you saw it coming or it’s out of the blue – it’s important not to respond just yet! Acknowledge their request and give a commitment that you will think about it and get back to them soon. After this, take the following points into consideration to help you reach a decision…

Learn their reasons why

Usually, when an employee approaches an employer for pay rise, they are unhappy with their employment so the key is to determine why so that you can effectively manage the situation and come to the best possible outcome.

Common reasons that employees ask for a pay rise is that they are struggling financially, they feel undervalued, they don’t feel their salary is competitive or they think that other staff members are being paid more. Each of these situations requires a different response so nailing down the reasons why an employee wants a pay rise is important.

Consider your options

Perhaps the request is a good time to review what you currently pay everyone. Use the prompt to carry out job evaluations and research what similar local companies are paying staff. Carrying out a full review will give you the chance to put salary bands in place, create a fair system and prevent gender gap issues. Having a system in place will ensure that employees know what is expected of them and how they can progress within the company.

Is it an option for the employee in question to take on more responsibilities, which would justify the raise? Or, in the situation where the salary is actually competitive, are they an asset to your business that you don’t want to lose? If so, highlighting their value by giving a pay rise might be warranted. Finally, in the delicate situation where an employee asks for a rise when they are struggling financially, but it isn’t justified, consider how as an employer you can support them in other ways.

Examine pay rise alternatives

A common reason that may businesses can’t offer a pay rise, is quite simply, that they can’t afford it. If you find yourself in this situation and you want to show a deserving employee that they are valued, there are a wealth of options available, like vouchers, time off or the opportunity for training. In fact, in this blog post, we have rounded up a wealth of ways to reward staff without giving them a raise.

Communicate clearly

When a full review has been completed and you have reached your decision, it’s time to deliver the news. This should be done so in a formal manner and communicated as clearly as possible, stating the reasons you have reached the conclusion. It’s also important to show compassion in the situation where the answer is no.

If you have a staffing problem you would like a solution to, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or email: julie@consulthr.co.uk to discuss further.