Conflict between two or more employees can bring down an entire environment. Unfortunately, because of all the time spent together, it’s inevitable that occasionally you will have workers who don’t get along. When this happens in your workplace, here are five steps for handling the situation.

  1. Get to the bottom of what’s happening

Before you can move forward, you need to know the root of what’s happening. This will help you determine if it’s something larger, like discrimination or harassment. Documenting the situation is helpful in case it escalates and becomes more of a hostile work environment.

  1. Hear both sides

While you get the bottom of the issue, make sure you hear all parties out. It’s easy to hear one and begin to make judgments, but ultimately you need to give everyone a chance to share their story, and then determine the truth. You may be able to ask other employees as well to provide additional insight and add more context.

  1. Handle the situation quickly

Once you get wind of an employee conflict, you need to step in and work fast. Letting it go without your involvement may let them think they can get away with it or you don’t notice. By taking charge of the situation, you’re inserting your authority.

  1. Encourage them to find a solution

Even though you’ve talked to them and determined what’s going on, it’s important to encourage them to work it out themselves. This will help the solution be more authentic and stick rather than a word from the boss. Explain the consequences if they can’t come to a solution and continue in conflict so they understand the importance of working it out together.

  1. Step in again if needed

Your goal is for them to figure it out and find peace together, but sometimes that won’t work, and you’ll have to intervene again. At this point, your role is setting the boundaries and laying down the law, so to speak. Bring in your employee handbook and explain what will happen if they continue like this and impress upon them they don’t have to like each other, but they have to work together on the job.

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