Vigeo Partners Ltd

From time to time independent support can be valuable in supporting professional staffing relationships.   There are a number of factors that may be of value when repsonding to such issues within a team in the workplace.   Here is some general guideance below that you may find useful.  We offer support that would hopefully be of value prior to formal external proceedings within the organisastion.    For more specific advcie and support in your setting please complete the Booking Enquiry Form. 

Workplace mediation

Conflict resolution in organisations vary according to circumstance and the environment we work in.   It's like looking at the same story of events from different perspectives.   Consider the same news event being reported in different newspapers, social media sites and television.   The core story exists but the version of events varies according to a number of factors: conscious or unconscious bias, emotional literacy, trust, communication and strength of will.  With these factors, a story can be understood from another person’s perspective, even if you disagree or even settle on a consensus about the future approach to working together. 
Here are some steps to address how to mediate conflict in your workplace:

[1] Tell your story

Each party briefly explains their perspective by communicating their story, their point of view, without interruption, judgement or feedback. The key is that each person's version is heard in a safe environment, and not attacked. The mediator's role is to ensure perspectives are heard and intervenes if the environment begins to feel unsafe.

[2] Options for the story ending

Collate possible actions either or both sides could take that would resolve the differences or allow both parties to feel they have positive outcome. We call this the WIN-WIN approach to conflict resolution.  Other possible outcomes could be WIN-LOSE, LOSE-LOSE; in these scenarios one or both parties would feel they have lost out.   The best way to achieve WIN-WIN is where both parties are open to compromise without losing their core purpose.  A short list of suggestions is best here. e.g.  “I would like ..... to find a better way of expressing a disagreement with me privately, without making disparaging comments in front of other people."

[3] Create the environment

Explore ways in which systems and behaviours are affecting the work environment.  Is there a culture allowing the situation to become unhealthy?   What can each person change or improve to prevent other employees facing a similar scenario.

[4] Change starts within

Consider what behaviours, systems and processes might need to STOP, START, or TWEAK starting with one's own sphere of control.

[5] RE-frame the story and live it out

Agree a consensus and an alternative response, set of behaviours, in order to be able to move forward and re-frame the current version of events.  There has to be a willingness from all parties to live out whatever has been agreed, especially in the moment of potential resurgence of the old story.   Professionals may sharply disagree, not particularly like each other's approach, but the universal expectation on all sides should be behaviours that reflect dignity and respect.

[6] Cut the neutral path

Perspective is vital and communicating the different perspectives on the story's events is vital.  It is a reasonable expectation that adults can reach a conflict resolution.  Unwillingness to do so may be a reasonable cause for more formal capability procedure.

[7] Building faith in the main characters in the story

The mediation process works when we build faith in the people to have the ability to resolve differences and get on with their key roles within the organisation.  The process ideally will build faith in structured process for tackling conflict and allow for reflection on how best to review the process following each scenario in the future. 


Guidance on hazards and control measures to consider when undertaking a stress risk assessment

Existing Workplace Hazards

Nature of risk

Control measures to consider

Work Demands

How much work is there?

o Are staff comfortable with the amount of work?

o Are there set time scales for workload, are these too much / too little time to achieve?

o Is the intensity of the workload too great for individuals?

o Is there consistency and clarity in the job role? Do the team members have to provide work to different groups of staff?

 

 

 

o   Is insufficient resources seek guidance from management or help employee with advice on priorities?

o   Consider renegotiating deadlines if able

o   Can workloads be covered when staff are absent?

o   Adjust work patterns to cope with peaks (need to be fair and agreed with employees).

o   If people are under loaded, think about additional tasks / responsibilities.

o   Develop personal work plans to ensure that staff know what their job involves.

 

Are they able to do their job?

o   Have they received appropriate training in order that they can do the role effectively?

 

 

 

o   Review training needs

o   Devise systems to keep training records up to date to ensure employees are competent and comfortable in undertaking the core functions of their job.

Communication

o   Do employees feel comfortable in raising concerns?

o   Do the employees feel that they are kept informed about current business needs / developments / reasons for some actions taken?

 

o   Encourage staff to talk at an early stage if feeling that they are unable to cope

o   Take time to talk to the team regularly & update them on business aspects.

o   Take time to understand the challenges the team are facing

o   Discuss ways of sharing work sensible and agree way forward

o   Gain understanding and commitment to unplanned tight deadline & need to additional hours etc.

o   Lead by example

 

 

Environment

o   Are there any issues regarding the work environment that is impacting on how effectively employees can do their role?

 

 

o   Ensure risk assessments are up to date

o   Consider environmental factors that may impact on efficiency of work demands.

Control

Are staff enabled to have their say?

o   Do staff feel that they are involved in deciding what work they do, and when and how they do it?

o   Is the work repetitive or do the staff have a variety of activities to complete?

o   Is the working time flexible?

o   Can staff decide when to take breaks?

 

o   Can you consider giving staff more control by enabling them to plan their own work, make decisions on how their work should be completed?

o   Can tasks be varied if repetitive to make day more interesting?

o   Are they able to decide when to take a break?

o   Can their working hours be flexible?

 

Skills and abilities?

o   Do staff feel that their skills are being used appropriately?

o   Is there room to develop new skills for employees if wanted?

o   Does the work require initiative? Do staff feel that they are encouraged to use it?

o   Do staff feel that they are considered when planning the work

 

o   Employees may feel more enriched if able to use a variety of skills to get tasks completed?

o   Are employee skills being used to full potential?

o   Consider how employees can be part of work planning, assign projects / give objectives and goals.

 

Supervision

o   Is work regularly monitored? Do employees feel this is too much / too little

o   Does manager meet with staff to see how work is going?

 

 

o   Only monitor employees output if essential.

o   Encourage employees to share with managers how work is going and raise any concerns at an early stage.

 

 

 

Support

How supportive are you?

o   Do staff feel they are being offered adequate managerial support with new work issues, everyday work issues or personal issues if needed?

o   Do staff feel that they are well supported form their colleagues?

 

 

o   Give support and encouragement to staff, even when things go wrong.

o   Encourage staff to share any concerns with you

o   Hold regular team meetings to discuss and pressures / issues

o   Hold one to one meeting to talk about any emerging issues / pressures

o   Ask them how they would like to access managerial support, open door / agreed one to one session etc.

o   Ensure induction programmes are undertaken for new staff

o   Review ongoing training needs

o   Guide staff if have conflicting priorities.

Team / working time

o   Do staff feel that you support a healthy work / life balance?

 

 

o   Encourage staff to take their annual leave at regular intervals

o   Ensure staff have appropriate meal breaks in a working day

o   Consideration for flexibility in working hours if have domestic situations / commitments

Listening

o   How well do you listen to your staff? Do they feel that this occurs?

 

o   Ensure you listen and agree a plan of action when staff are discussing issues with you.

o   Encourage staff to do their bit, identify problems and then listen to them, agree a way forward.

o   Identify if there are any supportive measures available through the organisation if an individual is experiencing personal issues, find other resources e.g. counselling / occupational health / Fit for work adviceline / Human Resources

Relationships

Relationships within the team / Unacceptable behaviour

o   Are there any issues concerning workplace relationship conflicts within the team for the employee?

o   Are there problems with bullying / harassment?

o   Are there policies where staff can raise concerns about another member of staff?

 

 

 

 

o   Ensure there is an effective bullying / harassment / disciplinary / grievance policy in place so that situations can be managed if arise.

o   Agree and implement procedures to prevent or quickly resolve conflict at work, can mediation assist if necessary.

o   Set up a confidential reporting system to enable the reporting of unacceptable behaviour.

o   Communicate the policies so all employees aware of process as well as the consequences if policies are breached.

 

Does the organisation care?

o   Does the employee feel that the organisation as a whole (managers and colleagues) are caring / trusting

 

o   Develop ways of encouraging team achievements and recognising the contributions of all team members.

o   Develop skills in the team for listening / coaching / mentoring if appropriate.

o   Identify ways to celebrate success.

Role

Role ambiguity

o   Are staff clear about what is expected of them?

o   Do staff have a clear plan of work which is agreed with their manager?

o   Are staff encouraged to talk to managers at an early stage if unclear of priorities of task to be undertaken?

o   Are staff struggling with multiple / conflicting roles?

o   Do they understand how their role fits into the overall business aims?

 

 

 

o   Make sure staff have clear job descriptions and clear job plans which enables them to understand exactly what their role is.

o   Encourage staff to communicate at an early stage if unsure about aspects of their role / nature of a task

o   Meet with staff so they are clear about what is expected of them

o   Review work plans at least annually, check if they understand what is expected of them if roles change.

o   Give guidance / advise on any work conflicts, may need to negotiate if expected to meet deadlines for different projects.

o   Display team targets / objectives to help clarify the role of individuals and organisation aims.

 

 

New staff members

o   Make sure new staff members receive a comprehensive induction to their role.

o   Make sure other staff understand the role and responsibilities of the new recruit.

Change

 

Change Management

o   Do staff feel that they receive adequate and regular communication and consultation about organisation change when occurring?

o   Do staff fell they understand why organisational change needs to occur?

 

o   Communicate regularly and at all stages when change is likely to / in the process of occurring.

o   Ensure that communicate even if there is nothing to tell, sometimes it is easy for people to think the worst if nothing is said. It is better to communicate that there is no news to tell at present than say nothing at all.

o   Communicate new developments quickly to avoid spreading of rumours

o   Where possible, involve employees in the change management process / get their ideas so that change is accepted more readily.

o   Consider impact on role and ensure this is clarified after a change process so that there are no role ambiguity issues arising.

 

INDIVIDUAL STRESS RISK ASSESSMENT FORM – For manager to complete.

Department:

 

 

Manager:

Risk assessment for:

 

 

Signature:

Stress Categories

Specific causes of workplace stress identified within each category

Existing workplace precautions already in place

Additional Workplace precautions to be implemented for individual

Will the precautions implemented avoid workplace stress or reduce the causes of stress? Please describe.

Demand

 

 

 

 

 

 

Control

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relationships

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Role

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Comments

 

 

 

Date completed:

 

 

 

 

Staff member signature: