Written by: Malachi McPherson

How much is internal conflict costing you? By Malachi McPherson

19 Oct 2022

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Malachi McPherson
SENIOR MARKETING EXECUTIVE at the TCM group
If you would like to discuss Malachi's post in more detail, please contact Malachi at [email protected]

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Each year, organisations spend billions, both in terms of time and money on internal conflict. Outdated processes and policies can often exasperate issues; amplifying their impact and causing damage to organisations, individuals, teams and workplace culture.

In the UK alone, the total cost of workplace conflict is a staggering £28.5 billion! This of course is notwithstanding the additional emotional ‘costs’ in terms of stress, trauma, unhappiness and more, which are often biproducts of conflict for individuals and teams. A closer analysis of the financial cost of conflict in the UK reveals:

  • £12.8 billion is spent on formal HR procedures, including grievances, disciplinary cases and dismissals cost
  • £11.9 billion accrued cost is from the impact of resignations
  • £2.2 billion is spent due to sickness absence

Contemporarily, the issues and costs associated with workplace conflict seem to be worsening, if a report released by The Myers-Briggs Company in August 2022 is to be believed.

Their research has found that the time spent on workplace conflict has doubled since 2008! On average respondents spent 4.34 hours per week dealing with conflict at work. This of course can have a significant impact on productivity, as well as impacting wider culture within the organisation and job satisfaction.

A way forward

The study found that the most frequently mentioned positive benefit of workplace conflict was that it was an opportunity to build relationships and increase collaboration. In doing so it was suggested that those handling internal conflict should:

  • Communicate better with parties involved in conflict
  • Address conflict quicker, earlier and more directly
  • Listen more; asking for more opinions, views or information
  • Avoid trying to appease everyone. I.e. specific individuals or senior managers

 

Effective conflict management: an essential skill

The findings also suggested that conflict management is an essential skill for managers, an ethos embodied by The Resolution Framework™.

The Resolution Framework™ provides a fresh, people-centred approach for resolving concerns, conduct, complaints and conflict at work. Favouring communication and less formal methods of resolving issues, the approach aims to safeguard the needs and wellbeing of employees, while being fully legally compliant with the Acas code, employment and equality legislation and best practice guidance.

Adopted by a plethora of public, private and third sector organisations, the approach has proved successful; resulting in a more collaborative and constructive approach to workplace conflict amongst employees, managers, and the trade unions.

One such example is TCM’s work with Aviva, the UK’s largest insurance company. TCM supported Aviva with the roll out of The Resolution Framework in 2018 and received glowing feedback. Anthony Fitzpatrick, Head of Colleague Experience & Employment Policy in the organisation said “We have seen that the vast majority of cases are settled either at triage or through a facilitated conversation. This means that for the cases where a formal meeting or a mediation is required, we have more time to dedicate to that. If colleagues can feel that the outcome was swift, easily managed and resolved it allows everyone to focus on their job and increases morale and motivation which is good for personal wellbeing; it’s good for the business and it’s good for the customer too.”

Find out more about how The Resolution Framework™ could positively impact your organisation here. You can also sign up for our free upcoming Conflict & Culture webinar with The TCM Group’s CEO David Liddle, exploring how The Resolution Framework™ alongside other forward-thinking and people-centred approaches can create positive change within your workplace.