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A Human Resources Perspective on Workplace Conflict

A Human Resources Perspective on Workplace Conflict

What were some of the conflict problems that you experienced during your time working in HR?



Full Transcript

I worked in this big multinational oil and gas company worked there for many years and many years in HR, and I got to the position where I looked after, as part of my responsibilities, HR policy. We were doing a big review of all our policies, and this included our grievance and disciplinary processes. I was talking with my boss, the HR director, and we started talking about some of the issues that we’d been having where grievances had to be investigated.


In the oil and gas industry, very expensive senior managers and always senior managers doing the investigations. HR team were involved and these always pulled in a lot of time, effort, and that time and effort is money. We thought as well, the results we were getting weren’t necessarily resolving the issues in the first place. We thought, why is this? We have our processes and we have our procedures, and we found out a lot of issues were actually relationship issues.


Typically for management, was a key thing, where managers would be told “you need to manage this person, you can’t just get rid of them”, so they would have a conversation with their team member and say “Your performance isn’t up to scratch, and we need to do something about it.” Employee might turn round and say, “Well, it’s the first I’ve heard of it. Why are you picking on me now?” The next thing you know, you’ve got a grievance in for bullying.


These were the kind of issues that were coming up, and the grievance process was used, things were getting investigated, but, as I say, not necessarily resolving the issues.

About the mediator

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Marc is an experienced workplace mediator based near Reading, providing mediation services, conflict competence training and conflict coaching through his company Mediation4. He is the author of 'DIY Mediation. The Conflict Resolution Toolkit for HR'. Prior to setting up Mediation4 Marc worked for nearly 25 years in senior HR, commercial and general management roles for a FTSE 10 multinational company. This included roles as diverse as Manag... View Mediator