If you are a supervisor at a large organization or are otherwise in a leadership role, maintaining a healthy work environment is naturally a top priority. Conflict resolution training is among one of the more successful ways to prevent lasting tension, anger, and resentment, and allow employees to focus on their jobs.
So how do you measure the impact of such training within a sizable organization? Let’s review several possibilities, as well as what conflict resolution training is and what to do before engaging in conflict resolution metric projects.
What is Conflict Resolution/Management Training?
Conflict resolution-related training and workshops are designed to identify negative habits and issues within a workplace and find ways to resolve them. Such training typically involves helping managers and team members learn new methods for resolving issues quickly. Conflict management sessions are tailored to support the needs of different businesses and organizations since no two are alike, and adjusting training methods contributes to more positive results. Examples of this type of management training, whether in person or virtual, include:
- Communication skills training that focuses on understanding tone and body language, learning about typical communication roadblocks and how to get past them, and finding ways to be proactive and responsive instead of reactive.
- De-escalation training that discusses the psychology behind aggression, learning about emotional self-management and self-regulation techniques, and how to solve problems in the most peaceful ways possible.
- Best practices training that emphasizes learning how to have challenging conversations, improve dialogue and listening skills, and practice conflict resolution techniques.
The first step in any conflict resolution training program is to define your organization’s current (related) goals. For example, what are your specific objectives? Is creating a more harmonious workplace overall the goal? What about helping different employees or groups of team members work together in a more civil, professional manner? Does the training have to do with anything else currently affecting the work environment, such as harassment of any kind? Have there been multiple ongoing conflicts affecting the workplace more and more?
It’s also a good idea to consider how the conflict resolution program will work in conjunction with your organization’s values, mission, and overarching vision. Once your goals are clearly defined, you’ll have an easier time deciding which training methods and tools to utilize, such as one-on-one sessions with professional mediators, group mediation sessions, surveys, and team-building exercises.
Defining Training Success
After determining what type of conflict resolution exercises and tools you want to use, your next step is to define success indicators. Examples of these indicators can include but are not limited to:
- Level of participation during training sessions
- Number of participants
- Quantity of ideas from participating team members
- Quality of ideas from participating team members
- Impact on team morale
- Impact on team member attitudes
These and similar factors help you create clear training metrics.
Putting Your Metrics Plan Into Action
When you have decided what type of tools and methods you wish to use, you’ll need to implement your training plan. The best evaluations obtain information from participants before, during, and after conflict resolution training, as doing so makes it clear what works and what could use improvement. For example, say you want to create a team-building exercise centered around empathy and compassion. Reviewing how team members felt about the exercise before taking part compared to how they felt during and after it ended gives you a clear indication of whether to use the activity again. To help you make adjustments, include a question or two about what could be done differently or what team members would prefer to do.
The right software makes analyzing the information you collect and converting that information into assorted reports saves time, energy, and frustration. It also provides stakeholders with analyses they can look over at any time. Ensure all findings are clearly outlined to avoid wasting time explaining what “this meant” or what “that is supposed to represent.”
Improving the Workplace Through Your Results
Once you have your information on a spreadsheet or use it to create a presentation, it becomes time to reflect. What challenges did you encounter during the training and how did they compare to your successes? In terms of moving forward and eventually reaching your goal(s), what adjustments need to be made? For example, perhaps team members enjoyed the training exercises and extracted valuable lessons from them, but did not care for how the training materials were delivered or the manner in which they were informed about the session. Maybe the training exercises themselves need refining or the way you collected the data could be more streamlined.
Improving your workplace additionally involves sharing your training results with your team, fellow managers and other colleagues, and those above you. Depending on your organization, you might want to share your newfound info with your clients.
It is also a good idea to request feedback or suggestions upon sharing the information. The more you know about what those in the organization honestly think about the training and how to move forward in a positive manner, the more you can fine-tune future sessions. To help encourage honest feedback, you can request anonymous reactions. Team members are especially more likely to be truthful if their names are not attached to the feedback. Make it clear that their jobs are not in danger, you simply want their real opinions to provide them with the best work environment possible.
Inspiring and Helpful Quotes
When creating conflict management training sessions, consider pulling from the wisdom of famous activists, authors, and mediators. Whether you use assorted quotes from these individuals as inspiration for various exercises or add them to your training materials is up to you. However, all can help participants think critically about their own behavior and what they can do to help foster a more positive professional space:
Every conflict we face in life is rich with positive and negative potential. It can be a source of inspiration, enlightenment, learning, transformation, and growth-or rage, fear, shame, entrapment, and resistance. The choice is not up to our opponents, but to us, and our willingness to face and work through them. – Kenneth Cloke, mediator and consultant
Do not think of knocking out another person’s brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago. – Horace Mann, American abolitionist and educational reformer (1796-1859)
The quality of our lives depends not on whether or not we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them. – Thomas Crum, conflict resolution author and presenter
Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. – Benjamin Franklin
When you have a conflict, that means that there are truths that have to be addressed on each side of the conflict. And when you have a conflict, then it’s an educational process to try to resolve the conflict. And to resolve that, you have to get people on both sides of the conflict involved so that they can dialogue.” – Dolores Huerta, American labor leader and civil rights activist
As you continue to edit your training methods, bring new techniques into the sessions, and gather feedback, consider celebrating various milestones and achievements. Recognizing employees for their enthusiasm and hard work, offering assorted rewards, and simply giving shout-outs and similar appreciation posts on Slack are among the ways to celebrate. Doing so gives team members more incentives to do their best, treat one another with courtesy and respect, and do their part to maintain a tranquil workplace.
Employees want to know their managers care about creating a healthy work environment and are actively taking steps to improve. They want to know that their feedback is helpful and there are rewards in their future for doing their part. They also want to know that they can be honest without serious repercussions, such as losing their positions. When you make it clear that the team is integral to the company’s success, these things that employees “want to know” become obvious.
Developing conflict management and resolution techniques that really work for your organization takes time and there will likely be hurdles along the way. However, as long as you remain dedicated to creating a better workplace and using the metrics you collect to make the work environment truly shine, you will see the success you want. And while engaging in conflict training with your team does not mean you will never face an issue again within your organization, it does mean everyone will have the tools necessary to diffuse problems. The likelihood of small issues becoming large problems subsequently diminishes.
What type of training does your large organization need for a more productive, healthy work environment with an excellent reputation? Contact our team at Pollack Peacebuilding today about your needs and enjoy creating a customized plan with our talented professionals!