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Did You Know? - Nearly Half Of Irish Businesses Experience Workplace Conflict

August 01, 2022

“Discipline” ranks as the main employee-related issue with one in three (31%) stating that it was an issue last year, up from one in five (19%) in 2020. This is not surprising given the impact of blended working practices as employees re-integrate into more permanent ways of working.
Incidence of “Grievance” is also up from 14% in 2020 to 29% last year. Some concerning issues that could be related to the return to workplace are dramatic increases in the incidences of “Bullying”, up from just 3% in 2020 to 17% in 2021 and “Harassment” and “Sexual Harassment”, up from a combined 2% in 2020 to 11% last year. Whilst we had seen the incidence of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment decrease steadily over the past number of years, this increase illustrates the need to ensure the culture within your organisation is fully embedded in a manner that promotes mutual respect amongst all employees, supported by the appropriate policies, training and communication.

Causes of Conflict and Disputes

When asked about what they believe to be the main causes of workplace conflicts, Irish organisations highlighted that “Poor communication” and “Personal relationships between employees” are the top two reasons with 51% and 39% respectively citing these as the main causes of issues. The other causes making up the top 5 are:

  • Ineffective Management

  • Lack of Effective Performance Management

  • Stress

Understanding the causes of conflict and disputes among co-workers will help resolve them. In the majority of situations, disagreements or misunderstandings can be dealt with swiftly and informally without any disruption to the business. Equipping managers with the skills needed to identify and address potential issues, will allow them to intervene early and prevent any escalation.

Having clear discipline and grievance policies and procedures in place provides the channels for work-related issues to be managed formally and fairly. While we’ve already acknowledged that it is very difficult to avoid workplace conflict, fostering a culture of openness, fairness and transparency will help establish a more harmonious work environment.