Conflict within the workplace is complex and can have negative implications if left unaddressed. This is nowhere more true than in cases of diversity conflict in the workplace. Issues of inclusion, morale, ethics, and legality can come under duress quickly even with the right measures in place. The best approach to managing this type of conflict is to stay ahead of it, but addressing conflict as it arises can help your organization ensure your work environment is one that remains safe, effective, and inclusive for everyone who works there.
Diversity Conflict in the Workplace
No work environment should be hostile for any employee. Managing diversity conflict in the workplace begins with policies and company culture and is carried out in how both of those things are enforced and maintained. While any kind of conflict in the workplace is undesirable, if the conflict you notice as a manager revolves around diversity and inclusion issues, you’ll want to act immediately before the issue festers into a larger issue. Here are ways to stay ahead of it:
Establish a Clear Process
Management should communicate and document a clear process for reporting diversity issues such as harassment or discrimination if an employee experiences such while at work. The policy should include who to speak to and through what channels, as well as what the expectation is for follow-up. Employees should expect transparency on the part of the company in terms of how they will handle these reports and investigate claims that put into question their safety and dignity at work.
Educate All Levels of Employment
Everyone from executive leadership to human resources to managers, employees, and interns should all be required to participate in diversity and inclusion training in an effort to ensure that all humans in the work environment understand common DEI (Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion) issues and solutions experienced at work. Once provided to everyone at the organization, and ongoingly for reinforcement, this training should be provided to new employees upon hire to reduce instances of diversity conflict in the workplace.
Examine Hiring Practices
Organizations can benefit from examining their hiring practices to get a better understanding of how implicit biases may be preventing them from implementing important DEI hiring decisions. Diverse organizations have a wide representation of employees on all levels, including in the board room.
Set and Reinforce Expectations
When establishing a company culture, management should communicate clear expectations about how employees should treat each other. This should include a no tolerance policy for instances of discrimination or harassment on the grounds of protected class. Communicate clear consequences that will occur if these expectations are violated and back up those expectations with action. This is a good rule to follow broadly to reduce conflict situations at work overall, not just with regard to discrimination, but ensuring all employees feel safe at work is imperative to cultivate a safe and effective work environment with low conflict and costly legal issues.
Avoiding and addressing diversity conflict in the workplace is critical and can be managed with the support of conflict professionals who can help you stay ahead of these critical issues. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.