Healthy workplace relationships are essential to the success of any organisation. Even minor problems can develop into grievances or disputes if they're not dealt with quickly and effectively.
Having suitable policies and procedures to resolve workplace issues is essential. But where an issue turns into a problem, a positive result can be achieved through early and informal intervention.
Acas helps organisations of all sizes to avoid and resolve problems with relationships at work, saving time, money and stress for both the employer and employees. We can offer health checks, as well as advice and guidance to develop robust working policies. But where issues turn into problems, we offer free individual and collective conciliation services.
What can be done to minimise and resolve conflict in the workplace?
Simple steps for employers
Train managers to handle difficult conversations with employees (Acas can provide advice and training).
Encourage open expression of opinions and recognise the importance of feelings.
Listen to what people have to say.
Focus on interests not positions and personalities.
Have clear discipline, grievance and dispute procedures for dealing with conflict.
Simple steps for employees
It's always simpler to talk to people directly and informally about a problem.
Check with your line manager, HR, your finance team or others you think can help, to see if there has been a mistake or misunderstanding that has caused the problem unintentionally.
Keep a record of relevant events: include dates and times and a description of what happened; plus copies of any relevant paperwork, eg letters, memos, emails, notes of meetings.
When there's a problem at work, it should be tackled quickly. But which is best - the informal approach or using a formal channel for grievances? Our advisors explain your options.
You can download or order booklets, leaflets and handbooks covering a wide range of employment matters, from writing a contract of employment, to holiday entitlement, to the latest employment legislation, from our Publications section.