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Resolving workplace conflicts in general practices

Workplace conflict is an ugly topic but one that employers need to tackle head on to maintain a healthy working environment. Resolving workplace conflicts often requires carefully thought-out strategies to prepare for, identify, mediate, and prevent them from occurring in the future. This is made more challenging by the fact that the nature of the conflict may differ depending on the industry. In this piece, we’ll be looking at how employers can resolve conflicts in the healthcare industry, general practices in particular.

What causes workplace conflicts? 

Oftentimes, the first thing to do when we identify an issue is to find its source. Unfortunately, problems within a workforce often have multiple causes that have come together to create significant conflict. Some of the most common causes of modern conflicts in the workplace include: 

  • Poor communication and misunderstandings. 
  • Individuals who are resistant to change, or a lack of guidance on how changes will be implemented. 
  • Job expectations that aren’t clear. 
  • Personality clashes. 
  • Bad working habits or disruptive workplace habits. 
  • A toxic work environment.


How to resolve workplace conflicts in general practices 

It should first be noted that the points listed below are recommendations, and some nuance may be involved depending on the circumstances. Nevertheless, qualitative research findings of conflict mediation and early resolution in East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust have been used to curate this list, alongside our expertise in HR Policies and Procedures. Ultimately, all conflict resolution strategies should be focused on the goal of reaching an agreement between the two parties that leads to an improved working experience and allows the business to return to normal. 

Whatever the basis of the conflict, steps should be taken to address it as soon as it has come to the attention of a senior member of staff. The longer the issue exists without action, the more likely it is to develop and cause more disruption to other members of staff within the department and beyond. Inaction from company management could also lead employees to trying to solve the issue themselves, which often doesn’t end well. 

The key to resolving a workplace conflict is to have an unbiased view of events. This starts with gathering all the facts surrounding the dispute to establish exactly what has happened. However, employers should be careful to exercise discretion when they go about getting the facts and agree a way forward. A professional employment law solicitor will ensure all proper practices are followed in this process.   

In an industry as fast paced as healthcare, it can often be difficult to land on a conflict solution that works for both individuals as well as the business itself. For example, the workplace conflict is likely to have occurred between individuals who have regular interactions as part of their work. As such, the rota may not allow for scheduling changes to be a viable option in resolving the conflict. Those with HR responsibilities in general practices should therefore be prepared to facilitate flexible arrangements. 

Sometimes it’s employees who take the first step in trying to solve issues they are having in the workplace, whether by attempting to resolve the conflict themselves, or by taking actions that impact their quality of work. Both of these outcomes are often not favourable for employers and in the case of general practices, can directly impact the quality of service provided. To avoid this eventuality, it should be made clear who is responsible for receiving complaints and adequate time should be put aside for this person to arrange meetings with individuals experiencing workplace conflict. 

Practical workplace conflict solutions for employers 

At Employment Law Services Ltd, we specialise in providing HR advice that is both constructive and actionable for your business. Thanks to our expertise, our team is confident in providing guidance for resolving uncomfortable workplace conflicts. These services remain effective regardless of the sector you work in due to the years of experience we possess. We have an understanding the stresses and potential causes of workplace conflicts in general practices and as a result, we’ve developed tailored strategies to resolve such issues. Contact us and a member of our team will be happy to discuss discreetly the nature of any conflicts in your practice, along with how they can be resolved efficiently.