Workplace disputes can happen within any business, sometimes involving one individual member of staff and other times involving whole teams or even the entire company.
Issues can arise over rates of pay, working styles, discrimination or disagreements over specific tasks – and these issues are not always easy to resolve.
Solving disputes in the workplace is not always easy, however, there are a range of solutions that in many cases can help to ensure that your business doesn’t suffer from any negative outcomes from workplace disputes.
To help employers better understand how to solve disputes and issues that occur in the workplace with their staff, legal solutions firm LexisNexis has outlined its best advice for solving disputes within the workplace.
Hold meetings with staff who are affected
One of the first ports of call during a workplace dispute is to ensure that you hold meetings with any and all staff that are directly, and indirectly, affected by the issue. When holding meetings, ensure that a member of staff or an HR representative is present in the meeting to act as a scribe, to take note of everything that is discussed.
Ensure that the next steps are made clear to the employee during the meeting and there is a clear line of communication afterwards, whether a disciplinary procedure needs to be put into place, whether more evidence needs to be collected, or if a resolution has already been made.
Consult with trade union representatives
Consulting with trade unions within your business allows for collective bargaining and innovation between the employee and employers, with employers being able to consult with workers over workplace issues and conflict and any upcoming changes to the business. Business leaders and union representatives work together to reduce the chances of staff resistance and possibly walkouts and/or strikes.
Trade union representatives will be able to hold meetings with affected employees, with the aim of producing solutions that can be implemented with both the employees and the employer.
You can find out more information about trade unions, how they can help you and their recognition here: https://www.lexisnexis.co.uk/legal/guidance/trade-union-recognition
Throughout the process of a dispute taking place in the workplace, it’s important to ensure that as a business as a whole, or even as an individual business leader, that you stay impartial to the issue.
In some cases, the dispute may involve you directly, or be about a decision that you’ve made. In these cases, it’s so important to make sure that you stay impartial and don’t sway any opinions. Remaining impartial will allow for open lines of communication, which in turn, helps to resolve the dispute.However, if you are struggling to remain impartial you can look at commissioning an external company who may be able to help mediate any discussions taking place.
An expert from LexisNexis, says:
“As soon as an issue arises in your workplace, it’s so important to do what you can as a business to resolve it as thoroughly as possible, before the issue begins to affect more members of staff.
“Trade unions allow for collective bargaining between employers and their employees when a change is set to take place and when disputes arise. Union representatives allow for someone impartial to help businesses work with employees to solve issues. With a quarter of the UK workforce being represented by trade unions, it’s highly likely that your employees will use them if and when needed.
“However, if your employees are not registered with trade unions, it’s likely that they will approach either their managers or your internal HR departments. By doing this, conflicts may be solved more efficiently.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.