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The Cost of Conflict

Unfortunately conflict within the workplace is inevitable. With an increase in diversity within workplaces in terms of  personalities, needs and expectations, there becomes an increase in potential workplace conflict. Consequently, it is important to have a ground understanding of the potential issues that can arise within conflict in the workplace and more importantly the cost this can have on businesses and employees.

Before going into the consequences of conflict, it must be said that a little bit of conflict, as long as it’s not disrupting workplace satisfaction and decreasing productivity, can be a good thing. It can foster healthy workplace attitudes and provide opportunities for creativity, collaboration, and improvement. However, let it be known that this conflict needs to be restricted to a minimum, in order to avoid  potential organisational and interpersonal costs, which are discussed in detail below.

The most obvious consequence of conflict in the workplace is the cost of productivity and morale of employees. When conflict arises at work, the amount of time spent on resolving the issue takes time away from employees designated tasks and thus signifies wasted work opportunities and decreased  productivity. In addition, the morale of employees and surrounding bystanders are also affected negatively by conflict and thus workplace satisfaction is reduced. This can also lead to increased turnover of staff in extreme cases. In a study run by CPP Inc. commissioned on workplace commitment, U.S. employees were found to spend on average 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict in 2008. This amounts to approximately $359 billion in paid hours, or the equivalent of 385 million working days. Meanwhile surveys by The Centre for Creative Leadership and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg Florida, indicate that managers spend between 20-40% […]

Clearing The Air

“To handle yourself, use your head, to handle others, use your heart.”

– E.Roosevelt

Conflict and dealing with difficult people in the workplace is inevitable. A little bit of conflict can boost creativity, however if it’s personal it’s unnecessary, debilitating and even lead to an increase turnover in staff. Knowing there is conflict in the workplace is one thing; however knowing how to effectively respond and deal with it is another. With the prevalence of conflict in the workplace, we need to understand the impact it can have on organisations in order to address the issue and resolve it in a peaceful manner.

Conflict and ineffective communication within the workplace has an enormous cost for organisations which include: loss of productivity; a loss of synergy and cohesion due to the breakdown of teams ; divisiveness, low morale, motivation and staff turnover. High staff turnover results in a continual leaking of energy, knowledge and skills; weakening the organisation and undermining profits. Also, conflict can also have a burdening effect on individuals psychologically. Conflict can cause dissolution in the workplace and if the conflict is ongoing and unresolved it can cause distress and even depression if left untreated. In addition to this, the continued conflict at work can greatly reduce workplace satisfaction, reducing employees self-esteem and leading to higher turnover of staff.  Equipping supervisors and managers with the appropriate tools to deal with sticky situations that otherwise go un-managed, addresses conflict and issues when they arise and thus contributes to a healthy working environment,  increased productivity and fewer niggling hesitations.

Thankfully, VM Learning’s new C.L.E.A.R Choices program trains supervisors and managers with the appropriate skills and tools to deal with stressful work complications resolving unpleasant conflicts in the workplace. Benefits […]