Healthcare workplaces are stressful job environments and teams rely on each other in order to take their most effective steps every day. Therefore, addressing conflict in healthcare workplace settings can be challenging but also critical to the health and welfare of employees and patients alike.
Managing Conflict in Healthcare Workplace Settings
Healthcare workplaces are often more stressful than other work environments, mostly because there’s a lot at stake. With sparring healthcare workers, patients can be harmed and families of patients can experience a more anxiety-inducing situation than they need to. It’s important for healthcare workers to work together which means overcoming any disputes that arise between them. Preventing conflict altogether is an even more ideal solution and can be attempted through the following measures:
Establish a Code of Conduct
One way employers can get ahead of conflict in healthcare workplace settings is to outline behavioral expectations in a code of conduct. This can be helpful for outlining anything that may be ambiguous about workplace decorum. Don’t make the assumption that certain things are inherently known or that common sense will prevail. Getting clear about what you expect from employees and, perhaps more important, what you won’t tolerate, can help set a clear understanding among all employees and ease the task of managing employee conflict.
Nurture Your Culture
The code of conduct may inform a certain company culture among your healthcare workers, but reinforcing it positively and negatively through daily interactions can help keep the culture from becoming one that spurs on unnecessary conflict or allows it to exist unchecked. Ensure people treat each other with respect and without discriminatory attitudes, take swift action when those issues are violated, and be sure to model behavior from the top.
Get Involved Quickly
When prevention doesn’t quite work and you’re faced with having to resolve conflict between two employees or more, you want to act quickly. Allowing resentments or tensions to marinade is likely only going to make things worse in the end.
If you’re a manager or an employee closely related to the conflict in a healthcare workplace environment, you may want to begin mediating by meeting with each individual alone and hearing their side of things. Be validating and respectful in these meetings and be sure not to side with anyone in particular. Facilitate a conversation where the other person feels as though their emotional reactivity, however possibly ineffective, is understood and honored.
When emotions de-escalate, support the employees in coming up with their own workplace dispute resolution rather than having to take what’s handed down to them from management or human resources. Get some buy-in to the solution process, and perhaps even foster team-building, but give each party an opportunity to get a win from this exchange.
Dealing with employee conflict, especially when it’s conflict in healthcare workplace environments, is challenging work. Get support from experienced professionals who can diffuse rather than ignite the tension at work. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.