The Cost of Conflict

It is International Mediation Awareness Week (IMAW)  from 7th to 11th November.  The purpose is to raise awareness around Mediation, and better conflict resolution and management. Rebecca Gilbert, Company Director at Headland HR looks at the impact on business. 

When does conflict occur?

Put simply, conflict occurs when disagreement escalates.  Conflict is defined as an ‘active disagreement’ between people with opposing opinions or principles.

In a business and organisational setting, conflict can take many different forms.  It can occur between individuals, teams, departments, or between businesses.

What impact can it have?

The impact can be huge.  Left unresolved conflict can affect morale, efficiency, productivity, cross departmental working, project delivery, health and wellbeing, and the list goes on.  Even conflict between two individuals can impact many others around them and so the wider team and the organisation suffers as a result.

In May 2021, ACAS estimated that workplace conflict costs employers nearly £30 billion a year and that nearly half a million employees resign each year as a result of conflict.  In today’s challenging market where it can be so difficult to recruit and retain good people, this is a striking finding.

Much time and money can be spent trying to manage conflict.  Disciplinary and grievance processes can become complex and lengthy, soaking up multiple people’s time, focus and energy.  Long term sickness absence can occur through increased stress and anxiety for those involved.  Cost of legal fees can mount up and the potential for employment tribunal claims increases as the conflict goes on.

In some cases, time can be spent dealing with issues surrounding the conflict rather than getting to the root cause.  There can be a lot at stake, especially when key people in your organisation are at the heart of the conflict.  It can be incredibly difficult to navigate and control a situation and stop things from getting out of hand.  Sometimes the more you do to try and resolve the situation, the worse it gets.

So, what’s the answer?

If you are experiencing or managing conflict in your organisation, then intervention from an external independent person can help diffuse the situation and facilitate constructive discussion.

Mediation is growing in popularity and is increasingly being seen as a cost-effective option to resolve conflict and disputes in various settings.  From saving time and money to keeping hold of your experienced and valued staff members, there are many benefits to exploring mediation.

In a nutshell, a mediator will work with you to explore the issues you are experiencing in your business, facilitate discussion between those involved and help them to move towards an agreement through effective problem solving and negotiation.  A mediator can provide support, a confidential space for issues to be explored, and they can also provide follow up to ensure progress is made.

For more information about mediation services, or for a confidential discussion, contact Rebecca Gilbert – Company Director at Headland HR today.

Not a member of the County Town Chamber?  join from £60p/a (no VAT)