News & Events

Workplace Conflict – What’s Your Early Resolution Policy?

June 5, 2023

According to ACAS research, workplace conflict costs employers a staggering £28.5 billion a year. The CIPD states employees spend on average 1.8 hours a week each in informal workplace conflicts. That is significant down time in any business. And that’s before you incur costs associated with work place conflicts going unresolved, getting formal or going legal.

The report estimates costs of various types of workplace conflict situations. The annual cost associated with resignations alone is estimated at a whopping £11.9 billion with resulting sickness absence costing £2.2 billion per year.

The research is interesting. It indicates the financial costs of conflict are weighted towards the end of the conflict process where formal procedures start and where the employment relationship was coming to an end due to resignations or dismissals.

For any employer however, 1.8 hours per employee per week lost to conflict on average soon adds up. How many employees do you have?

Most employers want their businesses to run smoothly and for staff to get along. We help employers who wish to get people management right and ensure their managers are confident in dealing with conflict. Having a clear policy of early conflict resolution combined with management training can minimise the use of a formal grievance procedure and save costs. An early resolution policy is different from formal ACAS early dispute resolution procedures which are not triggered until a staff member is thinking of bringing a legal claim.

If an employee asks for early resolution under an employer’s own procedure, the situation may be assessed. Early. Trade union representatives, mental health first aiders and H.R and others may assist the assessment stage depending what your policy says. The stress of formal processes is much reduced leading to less ill health absence. The focus being on a genuine attempt at resolution and retention. It may sound hopeful thinking, but employers are already implementing such policies.

An Early Resolution Policy works instead of a formal grievance process but still satisfies the requirements of the ACAS Code of Practise on Disciplinaries & Grievances. It isn’t a “soft” option or substitute for a disciplinary process. Its purpose is to provide a straight forward, inclusive, prompt and constructive way of helping staff to speak up and resolve issues rather than harbouring concerns and staff leaving.

If you would like further information about our Early Conflict Resolution service or an Early Conflict Resolution policy for your organisation, please get in touch.