How to Cut the Cost of Office Drama and Get Back to Work
There’s a good chance your office’s biggest expense has nothing to do with state-of-the-art equipment or insurance companies. According to a 2008 study organized by CPP Inc. — a company most known for its Myers-Briggs Assessment — found that employees in the U.S. spend 2.1 hours per week involved with conflict.
That may seem minimal at first glance, but when you consider the lost time producing a great experience for your patients, the viral-like nature of “office drama,” and the potential that customers will experience and feel this tension, it’s more than a few dollars. In fact, it’s quite possibly your biggest expense.
Sadly, most business owners struggle to handle these issues swiftly and decisively in a way that leaves everyone feeling better or resolved. The traditional approach of ignoring may temper flare-ups and allow for more rational exchanges, but these are really only the surface. Rarely are conflicts isolated, as they tend to build in layers until a tipping point is reached and you end up with an even more time-consuming problem.
Get a Conflict Resolution Policy
The most important thing you can do about workplace conflict is anticipate and prepare. Well before it strikes – and don’t kid yourself, it will strike – you need a written plan. You need a unique strategy document that guides you and employees through the process of how conflict is managed at your office.
Formally called a “Conflict Resolution Policy,” this can be a stand-alone document or just one section of your employee handbook. It can be several pages or several paragraphs, but in summary it needs to address your definition of conflict, your office’s approach to it, and how leadership role.
When done right, a conflict management policy removes some of the pressures associated with you being the “bad guy” or one to resolve the conflict and places them squarely on the policy itself. The policy acts as a neutral third party, leaving little or nothing to question and putting you in a more favorable or easier role of facilitator simply guiding the process.
Sure, there are lots of “templates” or language on the Internet you can easily locate, copy, and paste. But does it really fit what’s unique about your office? And, further more, who created it? Are they an expert – have they ever dealt with or trained leaders and offices on the subject of resolving disputes?
Hire a Professional
If you are really serious about your business and the harmful affects of workplace conflict on your balance sheet, then consider hiring a professional who works with you to create a thoughtful, concise, and unique conflict management policy that eliminates confusion and instills confidence.
At Dolak Dispute Resolution, we are experts on conflict. We’ve been there, done that, and have helped many business owners and managers through the nuances of not only dealing with all kinds of scenarios, but crafting conflict management policies that align with their vision, culture, and managerial style mixed with industry standards and best practices.
Work place conflict is likely your office’s biggest expense, and can quickly grow larger if not kept in check. Hiring a pro to help you draft a well-defined conflict management policy that is unique to the individual needs of your office is an essential first step to addressing issues that arise and makes the most sense for helping you manage your bottom line.