Business is, fundamentally, the cooperative efforts of various people. And like any cooperative effort, disputes will sometimes arise between employees, between managers, and of course between employees and managers. Resolving these disputes quickly is essential - every day a dispute continues is a day of lost work and productivity and possibly damaged public image.
Reasons for Disputes
Even better would be to avoid these disputes altogether. Most work disputes arise from four basic reasons:
• Wages - your employees want better pay.
• Benefits - your employees believe they are behind the curve.
• Conditions - your employees feel unsafe, or the environment is depressing or oppressive.
• Security - your employees feel they have no job security.
Strategies to avoid labor disputes thus have to start with a thorough understanding of the reasons behind them. Then you can take specific steps to avoid them in the first place.
Strategies for Avoiding Disputes
Communication with your employees is crucial. Employees who feel as though management listens to their concerns, responds reasonably, and keeps them informed are generally much less likely to resort to disputes and job actions. This has to be combined with an awareness of nonverbal clues - if your message is positive, but your attitude is negative, the message will be perceived negatively.
Give your employees the materials, equipment and training to do their work properly. If you're hesitant to invest in your labor force, it only fosters a feeling that they have no job security and have no reason to take pride in their work - and they will begin to view management as the enemy.
Appointing representatives from the labor pool to have certain responsibilities and privileges makes it easier to communicate with the labor force in general, and insulates you from day-to-day grievances that can fester into job actions or overall disputes. It also displays trust in your workers, and gives workers a visible path to promotion.
Your employees are not the enemy who comes to steal your profits, and dealing with them in a fair and reasonable manner is the key. It's fine to tell them a request is unreasonable - but be prepared to offer your reasoning. And if a request is reasonable, there should be no reason not to consider it seriously.
Communicating and treating your employees fairly will stop almost all disputes from growing into something worse. Remember - you're all in this endeavor together.
Learn how mediation can help you resolve any commercial and business disputes through interest-based bargaining. Mr. Goldlust is offering his confidential services to parties jointly requesting a neutral facilitator in matters relating to employment, union management relations and general commercial disputes. Call 302-483-2000 or visit http://www.perryfgoldlust.com