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3 Steps To Increase Employee Engagement & Reduce Cost by Leveraging Conflict Resolution

Hey Peacemakers!

In today’s diverse workplaces, employee engagement stands as a cornerstone of organizational success. However, unresolved conflicts can significantly impede this engagement, affecting morale and productivity. Workplace conflict costs businesses $359 billion annually and 85% of employees experience conflict in the workplace (LinkedIn 2023). I want to share some quick lessons learned from the hundreds of organizations I have consulted with over the years. For today’s leaders, it’s crucial to foster a culture where conflicts are managed proactively and often. Many clients choose to ignore conflict hoping that it goes away but we have seen breakthroughs with clients who actually use it. Here’s how you can enhance engagement by addressing conflicts effectively within your agency:

Step 1: Establish Open Communication Channels

Action Items:

Implement Regular Check-Ins: Schedule weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with team members to understand their concerns and gather feedback. This regular interaction builds trust and prevents minor grievances from escalating. It helps repair conflict within your organization and identify ways to incorporate strategy into your business based on what teams members share. Don’t forget to follow-up on the feedback because the quickest way to erode trust is to ignore leader feedback and concerns.

Promote an Open-Door Policy: Encourage employees to voice their concerns and suggestions freely. Ensure they understand that their opinions are valued and considered in decision-making processes. This is often most difficult to manage because it requires leaders to be courageous and transparent. If you are not sure about how to create the policy, ask your leaders. If you create the safe space, most people will be open to you and the policy.

Benefits:

Creating a reliable communication channel not only helps in catching early signs of conflict but also makes employees feel valued and respected, boosting their engagement and commitment to the organization. Who cannot use this in their lives personally and professionally?

Step 2: Train Leaders and Employees in Conflict Resolution

Action Items:

Conduct Workshops and Training Sessions: Organize regular training sessions on conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, and effective communication techniques. This education empowers employees to handle disagreements constructively. With only 35% of companies including conflict resolution in their strategic plans, we have an opportunity to make culture transformation a superpower inside of organizations. As a reminder, these workshops and training sessions must be supported and funded at every level of the organization, not just the front-line.

Role-Playing Scenarios: Include practical exercises that allow employees to simulate conflict resolution, helping them to better understand and empathize with different perspectives. Some of the best scenarios come from your own organization and survey feedback results. Having realistic scenarios that are courageous from a content perspective makes it easier to learn ways to manage conflict and navigate the obstacles that impact employee engagement and productivity.

Benefits:

Well-trained employees are more confident in their ability to handle disputes amicably. This confidence can lead to a more harmonious workplace where conflicts are resolved quickly and efficiently, thereby maintaining high levels of engagement. This year’s example involves a client that has me training their leadership to train the entire team moving forward.

Step 3: Create a Supportive Culture

Action Items:

Recognize and Reward Collaborative Behaviors: Develop a recognition program that rewards employees for successfully managing and resolving conflicts. This can range from public acknowledgment in meetings to monetary bonuses or certificates of appreciation.

Cultivate Respect and Valuation of Differences: Encourage diversity of thought by celebrating different viewpoints and solutions offered by team members. This can be integrated into team-building activities and corporate communications.

Benefits:

A culture that appreciates and rewards collaboration and effective conflict management not only mitigates the negative impacts of conflicts but also enhances the overall workplace environment, making it conducive to employee engagement. This helps organizations become more inclusive, more collaborative, and less stressful.

Peacebuilding Steps:

The path to sustaining high employee engagement intersects significantly with effective conflict management. Managing peace internally allows each leader to grow and thrive. By implementing these steps, you not only resolve conflicts but also cultivate a work environment where every employee feels engaged, respected, and integral to the organization’s success. Nearly 2/3 of U.S. workers have experienced incivility at work in the last month (SHRM, 2024) so it is imperative to take action over inventory. Let’s commit to these actions today and transform our workplaces into models of engagement and productivity.

Together, we can build a resilient, engaged workforce!

author

Dawn Stone

Dawn Stone aka The Conflict Chick is an energetic and motivating speaker, consultant and coach who is your ultimate resource for resolving conflicts and promoting peace within your life. She uses data, storytelling, and a dash of humor to connect with audiences and bring complex topics to the forefront. Her… MORE

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