Tools for Managing Conflict

by Curtis Graves, Esq., SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Compensation,  Member Matters

Conflict is everywhere: with our spouses, with our children, with our home-repair contractors, and with our employees. You can’t escape it; you can only adapt.

Fortunately, Employers Council has you covered, at least with the employee stuff. Here are some services that will help you avoid conflict, or at least manage it if it can’t be avoided.

Employment Law Services
Today’s employees are more aware of employment laws than ever before. If you receive a charge of discrimination from the EEOC or a state civil rights agency, our attorneys will negotiate for you and prepare a written response on your behalf, if necessary. We will also represent you at unemployment compensation hearings, wage and hour audits, and mediations. All of these services are part of your core membership and are available at no additional charge.

Organizational Development and Learning
While our attorneys are equipped to handle your legal conflicts, Employers Council also employs skilled, highly trained mediators to help address conflict within your organization. Whether it’s two employees who don’t get along, or an entire team in pain, our mediators can often break through conflict and restore productivity. Given what it costs to replace a key employee, mediation is a good investment.

Custom Opinion Surveys
Sometimes it’s evident that a team is experiencing conflict, even though no one has come forward. When there is a need for anonymity, consider using a Custom Opinion Survey. This low-cost option allows you to survey a team, department, or entire company to find areas of dissatisfaction, whether that’s with a particular employee, or with wages, benefits, holidays, etc.

Employers are required to investigate certain employee complaints—like those involving Title VII—and it’s a good idea to investigate other matters, too, even when the law does not require it. But sometimes investigating a complaint is complex, either because of its facts, or because you can’t determine who is telling truth, only that someone clearly isn’t. Then there are those situations where the alleged offender is very high up in the organization, and no one wants to investigate him or her. In these situations, Employers Council can help by conducting an investigation for you and providing you with a detailed, privileged report of the investigator’s findings.

Employers Council offers several classes to improve your own conflict-management techniques and to help you guide others through conflict. These are easy to find using our online class catalog.

While conflict is right up there with death and taxes in terms of unavoidability, Employers Council is always available to help. Call us at 800.884.1328

About the author
Curtis Graves, Esq., SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Curtis is an employment law attorney and Employers Council's Information Resource Manager. Curtis specializes in legal issues surrounding drug use by employees, unemployment compensation, and corporate training. He regularly trains human resources professionals, managers, supervisors, and employees in legal issues involved with drugs, harassment, unemployment compensation, performance documentation, and civil rights. Curtis regularly represents members in administrative proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.