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Working with Human Resources to Handle Intra-Office Conflict

In times of conflict, think of your Human Resources (HR) department as a partner that can help you create an action plan. HR professionals know what employee conflicts can cost a company. Most employees see HR as a compliance office — the place that makes sure everyone is following the rules and regulations. But that’s not all HR does. It ensures that your company is implementing policies that protect the organization, helps managers realize the liability they carry through their actions, and sees to it that employees are meeting company expectations.

Although HR staff members definitely have an eye on compliance, they often work beyond documentation to coach an employee through conflict and direct him toward resources that educate and reduce similar situations in the future.

After HR has taken any required steps to document a situation and protect the company, it can also

  • Provide an employee the opportunity to save face and build confidence. No one likes to be reprimanded. Giving an employee the chance to share his perspective and ask for what he needs in the future helps that person feel better about the overall situation. Being a part of creating a solution builds confidence in the employee instead of being seen as a problem that needs to be “handled.”

  • Provide insights into your management style. HR can look at how you manage employees and help you identify your strengths and weaknesses — what is or isn’t working. They can provide tips on working with staff in a manner that you may never have considered.

  • Help you manage your employee on an individual level. You’ve probably found a management style that works for you and most of your employees. But no matter how foolproof your style is, you’re bound to have an employee who isn’t as comfortable with your approach. HR can help you tailor your approach to that individual to reduce conflict and help you get the most out of your employee.

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