Why the Increased Demand for Conflict Resolution Services?
BY ARABELLA TRESILIAN
With disruption in our lives caused by the pandemic, new working patterns and increased cost of living, the demand for conflict resolution services is also on the rise. Alex Efthymiades suggests to seek out mediation early and not to offer it only as a last resort: “A conflict that could have easily been resolved through an informal and collaborative conversation, will fester and grow.”
Numerous factors are contributing to significant increases in demand by organisations for conflict resolution services, particularly mediation. Worryingly, organisations are also experiencing an escalation of formal employee grievances.
Some of the reasons for this relate to the disruption to our lives caused by the pandemic, which has put extensive pressure on HR professionals and managers. This has been compounded by adjustments to new working patterns, Covid fatigue, long Covid, and labour shortages, not to mention the growing pressure on employees due to increases in the cost of living.
Here are two factors that are exacerbating the demand for conflict resolution services.
Virtual versus in-person communication
Remote and hybrid working don’t lend themselves to the same quality of communication as in-person interactions.
There are many advantages to hybrid and remote working, however, organisations need to be aware of how virtual working may impact workplace relationships and look at how HR and managers can be upskilled to effectively and confidently deal with new terrains of workplace conflict.
For some people, remote and hybrid working has meant a reduction in workplace conflict because they no longer work physically together with someone they perceive as challenging.
For others, conflict has escalated because virtual communication lacks the nuance and tone of in-person communication; conversations become more formal, transactional, and impersonal, and they lack the empathy needed when people are under pressure.