When there are office conflicts, it can make for a miserable and uninspiring work environment. Conflicts can happen for a variety of reason including simple personality differences. Unfortunately, disputes in the workplace can adversely affect business and this will be seen in the turnover rate. That is why it is so important to address the problem before it begins.

Here are 5 suggestions to help avoid or minimize workplace conflicts:

1. Communicate

Disputes often occur due to poor communication or no communication. Employees need clear direction and when this has not been effectively communicated to them, conflicts often arise. Employees want to know what their responsibilities are or what their job entails and how they are expected to perform their job. Communication between those in a position of authority, such as a manager or supervisor and employees must be clear, and concise. This is sure to help reduce conflicts and anxiety within the workplace. Additionally setting a standard of good communication will have a positive impact on the way employees communicate with each other. Many conflicts can be avoided by employees being on the same page about what they are doing.

2. Don’t Ignore It

The worst thing that can be done is to ignore that there is any sort of conflict. Even if there hasn’t been a dispute, in most cases tension can be felt. Conflict like this usually does not go away on its own. Left unaddressed conflict often intensifies. Once you notice that there is tension, avoid the possibility of it becoming worse by addressing it head-on. Although it will likely be uncomfortable, it would be more uncomfortable attempting to deal with the conflict once things have escalated.

3. Make It Easy to File A Formal Complaint

You should make it easy for employees to file a formal complaint, if necessary. There should be a process for them to follow so that they are comfortable making a complaint. The process should be as simple as them filling out a complaint form and submitting it to the HR Manager so that they can determine what further action is needed. This will prevent resentment from building and possible complaints from getting out of hand.

4. Create Team Engagement

Creating an atmosphere where employees are encouraged to work together promotes employee engagement. This will lead to employees learning to rely on each other and get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Engagement will help employees become more at ease with co-workers.

5. Treat Every Employee Fairly

You wouldn’t think that this would have to be mentioned but unfortunately, without knowing it, some employers may show favoritism. Employers, managers, and supervisors must remain neutral and treat employees fairly to avoid workplace conflicts.

Manage Expectations

It would be unrealistic to assume that conflicts in the workplace will never occur, but knowing how to avoid conflicts is helpful in preventing and minimizing the number of conflicts that occur. Most employers understand how disruptive conflicts can be to their business and will do what they can to reduce them. This article has provided some simple steps to get started. In most cases, some of these steps are already being implemented. Why not try also incorporate the things that you are not currently implementing to see if you can further reduce the number of conflicts that you are experiencing? There is little to lose and everything to gain if the suggestions work to the advantage of everyone involved.

The Stitt Feld Handy Group provides three levels of conflict resolution training and many customized options .