The Gallup State of the Global Workplace report reveals that 85% of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work.
Are your people engaged? Engagement in the workplace is achieved by supporting people to deal constructively with workplace tension, including empowering them to speak up about concerns impacting their work.
A workplace study (Patterson et al) found that 93% of people polled work closely with someone they find difficult to work with, but they believe speaking up is too risky, especially when the person is their boss. Sometimes disasters (including industrial accidents or suicide) result from people under pressure not feeling sufficiently valued or safe to express concerns.
Poorly handled tension and conflict costs UK business £33billion per year, according to the CBI.
People are reluctant to speak up because of power imbalances; if they displease their leader, he or she could make their and their family’s life difficult. Leaders in turn may lack support from their stakeholders, or the skills needed, to support their people. Not dealing with these issues is simply not an option.
While policies and procedures may provide a framework for managing difficult conversations, these alone don’t work. A culture in which tensions are identified early, and sensitive conversations handled not only professionally but with genuine empathy, is the solution. Mediation can help.
An impartial mediator facilitates a confidential, non-judgmental space, and level playing field, for employees experiencing tensions to unpack their concerns and identify a mutually acceptable way forward. Mediation defuses conflicts so that grievances are avoided.
Preventative measures such as effective coaching and advice also help, as can assigning and training workplace champions in your business to identify when and which kind of support is needed.
For more information, please contact Marianne at Blueintogreen.
Marianne Schoenig is an accredited and experienced Workplace Mediator, Coach & Consultant. She is the co-founder of Blueintogreen Mediation, Coaching & Consulting.