Figures from Adare Trusted People Partner’s most recent HR Barometer reveal that 74% of Organisations reported experiencing workplace conflict in 2023. This represents a notable 5% increase from the previous year.

What’s the Cause of Increasing Workplace Conflict?

The figures reveal a rise in both grievances and disciplinary issues. One broad interpretation of the figures may indicate that Organisations continue to grapple with the ongoing post-pandemic challenges of managing Employee expectations around hybrid and remote working.

Digging into the figures more closely, over half of the Organisations surveyed reported ineffective line management as a leading cause of disputes. This number suggests that Employees may be experiencing issues with their immediate superiors regarding clarity of instructions, support in the workplace, or fair treatment.

In addition, just over half of Employers also identified a lack of effective performance management as a significant cause of conflict and disputes. Relevant considerations included how performance is monitored, how feedback is given, and how Employees’ objectives are set and evaluated.

The third most cited cause of conflict and disputes was poor communication which was cited by 43% of Employers. Ineffective communication leads to unclear expectations, insufficient information sharing, or misinterpretations between management and staff or amongst coworkers.

How to Respond to Increasing Levels of Workplace Conflict

These recent workplace trends suggest several potential areas of focus for Organisations, including the need for enhanced conflict resolution mechanisms, a renewed focus on cultivating a collegial workplace culture, and ongoing training and awareness programs around conduct, grievances, and harassment.

While the figures reveal that HR teams and people managers are spending more and more time dealing with Employee conflicts and disputes, it is notable that the average number of formal disputes reported by Employers in 2023 was 4.9, a marked decrease from a figure of 5.5 recorded in 2022. This suggests that informal dispute resolution procedures are an effective way of reaching a mutually satisfactory outcome for the parties involved in a workplace dispute.

Impact on HR

As Irish workplaces are experiencing a continuing uptick in conflict and disputes, there is growing pressure on HR departments and people managers to resolve these difficult interpersonal scenarios.

While a certain level of conflict is to be expected in the workplace, failure to deal with Employee conflict leads to a range of negative business outcomes like low Employee morale, high turnover and low retention. As Employee expectations around flexible working practices continue to evolve, Managers and HR professionals will need to remain responsive to Employee concerns and identify the appropriate level of intervention needed to defuse workplace clashes or misunderstandings and seek to resolve workplace conflict before it escalates.

How do the experts manage Workplace Conflicts?

Adare Trusted People Partners have, for over two decades, supported Organisations in the areas of conflict and dispute resolution. To mark this milestone and the launch of our rebrand, we will host a complimentary webinar. This exclusive event will explore the current Employment and Industrial Relations landscape with industry experts Kieran Mulvey, Chairman at Adare, and Tommy Cummins, Head of Industrial Relations, facilitated by our Managing Director Sarah Fagan.

Join our webinar to get invaluable insights into the changing landscape of labour and industrial relations in Ireland.  Our experts delve into their wide experience of Employee and Industrial relations, looking at the past, present, and future sharing their decades of experience of coming to resolutions with positive business outcomes.

Event Details:

Date: 8th May 2024
Time: 10.30am – 11:45am
Location: Zoom

Gain Insights on:
  • Changing landscape of Employee and Industrial Relations.
  • Effective strategies for addressing workplace conflict.
  • The benefits of industrial relations
  • Opportunity to have your questions answered by experienced practitioners.

This event is highly recommended for HR professionals, business leaders, and policymakers. This event has free registration, but places are limited so please reserve your spot today.

If you have any questions that you would like to submit in advance of the webinar please share them with

Join Us:

Secure your spot by registering here.

We look forward to welcoming you to the event.

Let’s shape the future of work, together.