Thursday, 24 January 2013

The cost of conflict

Conflict with work colleagues is more common than we realise. it comes in many forms, whether we attribute it to personality clashes, a lack of understanding or sympathy with another, or differences in leadership style or the way we get a job done- or not!

These issues never simply 'go away'. Left unaddressed they can lead to enormous problems amongst teams and can prove damaging and costly for a business.

The impact of conflict left to fester can be seen in lost productivity, high stress levels and absenteeism. it can also prove damaging to a company’s reputation.

I've just read that the Confederation of British Industry places an estimated cost of conflict on British businesses at £33 billion per year, swallowing up 20% of managers' time and potentially losing up to 370 million working days.

The law requires that 'reasonable' investigations be completed where there is a reported conflict, and that these must be seen to be unbiased and conducted thoroughly and in an unbiased manner. It's a good idea to have an accredited, independent service that can help parties in conflict with an impartial, professional process that is run in alignment with existing procedures, legislation and best practice. Engaging a trusted, independent mediator is seen as unbiased and credible by the parties, and offers a layer of protection for the individuals and business. It's also amazingly cost effective when you work out the cost of 20% of your management time each month, or the risk to your company's reputation.

Throughout my working life, I have been approached to help people in conflict. This led me to study mediation, and to achieve accredited mediator status, before registering with the Civil Mediation Council last year. Membership of this professional body offers clients the peace of mind they need, knowing I understand the weight of responsibility a mediator carries. I aim to reassure clients that they can trust in our professional and impartial approach.

Think about your team, or a team you know: what conflict do you see? How damaging is it right now? How much worse might it be if nobody tackles it? How could creating a safe space and allowing them dedicated time to address this help them, and their employer? What would be the immediate benefit if they reached resolution? What might we see in the longer term?

If you think we could help, drop us a line. Because we could, you know.

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