Does conflict ever feel smooth?

Learning how to manage conflict can reduce employer costs and increase employee satisfaction – conflict training can make conflict situations less intimidating.

The 2008 CPP Global Human Capital Report states that 85 percent of workers at all levels experience conflict to some degree. US employees in particular, spend 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict, which costs $350 billion in paid work hours.

Beyond paid work hours, there are additional spin-off repercussions that occur because of workplace conflicts. Costs associated with conflict include increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, turnover, employee litigation and overall mental or physical health issues.

The most surprising assessment made by the CPP report is that the majority of employees have never received any kind of conflict management training. The report states that companies who “choose to ignore conflict management are risking exposure to myriad of negative consequences which may dramatically diminish bottom-line performance”. They go on to say, “organizations that implement effective strategies for dealing with conflict will position themselves for tremendous gains in the years to come”.

Improvements attributed to companies that support conflict management training for their employees include stronger interpersonal relationships, better problem-solving capacity, reduced workplace tension and increased understanding according to Small Business – Houston Chronicle.

Conflict Smoothies, an online conflict resolution workshop developed by Michigan State University Extension offers an opportunity to gain and practice these skills. Past participants reported increased confidence and preparation dealing with conflict after completing the workshop series.

The series, which consists of nine 30-minute webinar sessions, is focused on helping participants build and then practice conflict management abilities. The workshop sessions are geared toward workplace related conflict, although the principles can easily apply to personal and home-based conflict. For more information or to register, visit the Conflict Smoothies event page.

Conflict management training can help “smooth” the way toward helping employees manage conflict situations more effectively. At the same time, the employer realizes potential savings through better production and staff retention. So maybe, just maybe….conflict can be smooth!

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