Have you ever mediated a conflict between employees, where it isn’t clear who is telling the truth, and there is no “paper trail” to get to the root of the issue?
Fortunately, there are IT tools you can use to help you avoid these scenarios. These tools include HR management software or human capital management systems. Though they may not necessarily have the capabilities of a human HR professional for resolving workplace conflicts, they empower HR departments to manage conflicts well.
Acuity, Neocase HR Power, and ServiceNow HR case management are examples of systems that provide these tools. Essentially, they standardize and document activities and processes to give companies a centralized and organized system for handling cases and presenting records that will help resolve issues.
What are the key aspects of resolving workplace conflicts?
Get to the root of the problem
Resolving conflicts begins with drilling down to the root cause of the problem by listening to all the parties involved and gathering relevant information. What follows is usually a long process of finding a common ground and coming up with an agreement to a specific solution. The process entails a lot of back and forth. A reliable system for documenting the events and commitments will be useful to the case, making the process efficient and supplying tangible evidence for future related conflicts.
Make documentation and reporting consistent
If an employee makes a verbal complaint about a co-worker, and the latter denies it, there won’t be much to work on. You will have to ask the complainant to supply the lacking information or dig into past reports of a complaint against the co-worker. A complaint template will help standardize complaints filed with HR, making sure that the information you need is complete. With standard employee reports filed, you can also easily access past or multiple allegations against the same person in the system. Instead of spending time digging incident reports, you can give more attention to dealing with people. ;
Analyze data and make recommendations
How should you handle employee complaints about work overload or stress in the workplace? If your company has implemented programs aimed at helping employees manage workplace stress, you must be able to measure their effectiveness. An HR system linked to productivity trackers will help you create graphs and projections on employee performance and correlate them with their participation — or non-participation — in the programs. It allows you to have an empirical basis for saying that ‘this program works’ or ‘we should try something else.
Gain employee trust
Technology allows you to collaborate with other departments or individuals on a case and assign different levels of access to various team members. This way, access to sensitive information is limited to a crucial few. Should there be a need to escalate the case to a legal counsel, every step is documented properly, and all files are gathered in one place. Such a system can increase employee trust and confidence in the company, knowing that it strictly adheres to an ethical way of handling matters.
Technological advancements in HR systems lessen the time and energy an HR team spends on tasks that well-designed programs can do faster and with greater acuity. These programs don’t replace the crucial role trained staff play in mediating and resolving conflicts, but they can hasten the process and make it efficient.