Fostering a diverse workplace is a positive thing. Employing people from different backgrounds, experiences, and skillsets is typically fuel for innovation and growth. Having a well-rounded group of individuals contributing to your company’s overall goal tends to produce big results, but those results can come at a cost. Diversity and conflict management can often go hand-in-hand due to disputes that can arise from these otherwise positive differences.
Diversity and Conflict Management
Diversity of background or even work philosophy can have positive impacts on a business, but it can also be the birthplace of conflict. Whether conflict is budding between employees or leadership, it’s important to nip it in the bud early before it starts to have long-lasting impacts on the rest of the team, company culture, and customer experience. Here are some ways to stay ahead of your company’s diversity and conflict management needs:
Create an Inclusive Culture
While diversity and conflict in the workplace may sometimes go hand-in-hand due to the fundamental differences at play, inclusion should be modeled in an effort to avoid those ruptures. Creating a company culture that celebrates diversity is the task of leadership. This is an important task because it can diminish the likelihood of diversity-based conflict from occurring. Management that shows a commitment to workforce diversity can model proper adherence to diversity policies and inclusion which can trickle down to other employees. While some employees may balk at diversity for fear of change or stepping out of their comfort zone, management can redirect morale to highlight the positives of such inclusion.
Train Leadership in Diversity
It’s important to train your leadership to be able to manage employees from diverse backgrounds. While every employee has individual needs that may not be served by traditional management practices, diversity training is especially important in diminishing the need for diversity and conflict management.
Empower Managers or Team Leaders
Leaders should generally tend to have a grasp on how to resolve disputes at work. Upper management can help foster a positive workplace culture by empowering managers, supervisors, or team leaders to manage workplace relationship conflicts on their own prior to escalating it to higher-ups or HR. As direct supervisors have their finger on the pulse of their team, they may be better equipped to handle disputes that break out and address the individual needs of the employees involved. However, upper management and HR should remain available in the event additional support is needed.
Have a Standard Procedure
To improve the relationship between diversity and conflict management at your company, HR may want to consider offering a protocol guideline for handling diversity conflict in the workplace which may help give some clarity to managers tasked with finding effective resolutions to conflict. Additionally, this may help clear up conduct expectations and give employees a feeling of security knowing if something goes awry, managers are equipped to take effective steps.
If managing diversity conflict in the workplace is putting a damper on business or your ability to lead, get support from neutral and experienced professionals who can diffuse rather than ignite the tension at work. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right conflict resolutions for your team.