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Common causes of workplace conflict

Common causes of workplace conflict

By on Aug 29, 2017 in Blog, Communication, Performance Management | 0 comments

Conflicts in the workplace can be uncomfortable for everyone and lead to a negative office environment.  Fortunately, understanding a few reasons conflict arises can help prevent the problems and encourage employees and managers to overcome these difficulties.  Some of the common causes of workplace conflict may be: Personality differences.  Employees come from different backgrounds and experiences, which play a role in shaping their personalities.  When employees fail to understand or accept the differences in each other’s personalities, problems arise in the workplace.  For example, an employee may possess a straightforward personality that results in him speaking whatever is on his mind, even if the timing is inappropriate.  This employee may offend a co-worker that does not possess the same type of personality.  The co-worker may feel as if the employee is rude or disrespectful, leading to conflict. Clashing values.  Like personalities, the values of employees differ within the workplace.  A difference in values is sometimes seen when a generational gap is present.  For instance, young workers may possess different workplace values than older workers.  The difference in values is not necessarily the cause of employee conflict in the workplace, but the failure to accept the differences is.  When employees fail to accept the differences, co-workers may insult each other’s character and experiences.  As a result, the conflict intensifies until the right solution is offered and accepted. Poor communication.  Poor communication is often one of the main causes of conflict between employees in the workplace.  This can happen because of a difference in communication styles or a failure to communicate.  For example, a manager might reassign an employee’s task to the employee’s co-worker, but fail to communicate the reassignment to the employee.  This could cause the employee to feel slighted, which can transform into animosity among the two employees and the manager.  Failing to communicate may cause employees to make incorrect assumptions and believe workplace gossip.  Poor communication not only causes conflict but decreases productivity and employee morale. Competition.  Unhealthy workplace competition may be another cause of employee conflict.  Some industries foster competitive environments more than others.  For instance, if salary is linked to employee production, a workplace may experience strong competition between employees.  Competition that is not properly managed...

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The importance of interpersonal communication

The importance of interpersonal communication

By on Apr 27, 2017 in Blog, Communication, HR Consulting, Training and Development, Training and Development Consulting | 0 comments

Interpersonal skills are also known as “people skills”. By forming interpersonal relationships with customers and employees, you are able to acknowledge the feelings of others and convey respect. You can also focus on the positive outcomes of varied viewpoints, while nurturing professional growth. Your ability to realize optimum performance from employees is greatly enhanced by “just being nice”. Communicating appropriately is an essential factor. Seeing yourself as others see you is the first step to improving your interpersonal communication skills. Here are some other ways to improve your interpersonal communication skills. Be more approachable – implement an open door policy; determine if you are perceived as unapproachable and work to resolve; become more involved in your employees’ daily functions. Build rapport – take an interest in your customers and employees; engage in periodic, casual conversations; discuss mutual non-business interests; share your personal interests. Strive to make others comfortable with you – refrain from being overly serious; control your intensity; smile frequently while speaking; use appropriate humor; monitor sarcasm. Develop your ability to make “small talk” – prepare opening statements about current events; discuss the weather; listen for “free” information while others speak; ask questions about the “free” information you heard. Treat others fairly – offer recognition to everyone as appropriate; monitor and avoid favoritism; remain neutral in workplace disputes; explain the rationale behind decisions you or the organization makes. Become more social – widen your group of acquaintances; speak up in group situations; network whenever possible. Be sure to request feedback from a trusted source to determine if you have any areas of opportunity. Do you need help developing your manager’s communication skills or other training and development needs? Contact us and check out our blog for more helpful resources....

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Barriers that inhibit effective communication

Barriers that inhibit effective communication

By on Apr 25, 2017 in Blog, Communication, Listening, Non-verbal, Speaking, Training and Development, Training and Development Consulting | 0 comments

Several challenging communication issues exist in today’s business environment. A clear understanding of these issues will enable you to overcome these challenges and communicate more effectively. The words you choose can mean the difference between retaining or losing an employee or a valued customer. You must be sensitive to the feelings and perceptions of others. As diversity in the workplace increases, you must avoid words that might stereotype, insult, or intimidate another person. Intercultural communication also presents a big challenge. It becomes challenging when communicating with people from another culture because the same words may have different meanings between cultures. There are three specific barriers associated with intercultural communication are tone differences, word connotation, and perceptions. Tone differences in formal and informal languages generate a message of indifference if used in an inappropriate setting. Word connotations create issues when the same word has a different meaning in another culture. Both speakers are challenged if they do not understand the meaning held by the other person in the conversation. Perceptions are held by people who speak different languages or come from varying backgrounds within the same language. Any given situation can be viewed differently, based on the language used or the cultural background. As a manager, it is your responsibility to be aware of any other possible barriers that inhibit communication between you and your employees. Do you need help developing your manager’s communication skills or other training and development needs? Contact us and check out our blog for more helpful...

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Tips on throwing a great holiday party for your employees

Tips on throwing a great holiday party for your employees

By on Dec 7, 2016 in Blog, Communication, Reward and Recognition | 0 comments

With it being the holiday season and end of the year, throwing a holiday party for your employees is a great way to show appreciation for how hard everyone has worked and that you really care about your employees. Here are a few suggested tips from Inc.com on how to throw a great holiday party for your employees this year. Have the party in January – moving the party to January will help you avoid the holiday rush and it will be easier and cheaper to book your venue and find a caterer. Hold the party during working hours and at the office – this option will also save you money from renting a venue and employees don’t have to spend their free time outside of work with co-workers. Throw a potluck – make sure your employees enjoy the idea of a potluck or it could end up being a bust. Another possibility is having the company provide pizza, sandwiches, or any entrée of your choice, and have the employees bring in their favorite sides or desserts. Do something nontraditional – go to the zoo, aquarium, or other local attraction instead of having the traditional holiday party. Don’t exclude spouses/significant others – if you decide to have a Friday night event dinner or party, give your employees the option of a “plus one guest” if appropriate. Don’t charge employees – only throw the type of holiday party that you can afford, whether you order pizza at the office or a fancy dinner at a nice restaurant. Charging your employees will not send them the message that the party is a celebration for their hard work. Provide transportation if alcohol is served – either make arrangements with a taxi company or hire a bus if alcohol will be served at the event. Even though transportation is provided, this does not give employees permission to exhibit behavior that go against company policies and they should still act responsibly. Don’t force people to attend – employees should always have the option to attend a holiday party regardless if it’s at the office or an offsite event. If someone does not want to attend, this is not a sign that they are not a team player and...

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What to include in your holiday party memo

What to include in your holiday party memo

By on Dec 5, 2016 in Blog, Communication, Safety | 0 comments

Do you have a memo ready to send out to your employees for an upcoming company holiday party this year? If not, here are some suggestions from the Society of Human Resource Management of what to include in a party memo to send out to your employees. Alcohol – It should go without saying that employees should drink responsibly if alcoholic beverages will be served at the party, but that is not always the case. A system should be implemented to prevent employees from consuming too many alcoholic beverages, such as having someone in charge pass out an allotted amount of drink tickets with employees names printed on them. This will help employees limit the amount of drinks they consume and employees cannot give them away to others if they choose not to use them. There should also be a cut-off period where alcohol will no longer be served about an hour before the party ends but make sure that there will be non-alcoholic beverages still available. Make sure to have professional bartenders serve beverages at the party instead of burdening an employee with the risk. Apparel – Make sure to have a set dress code for the party so employees know ahead of time what they can wear and set what will be considered inappropriate attire at the event. Behavior – Communicate with employees that although they are not at work, their behaviors should still conform to what is acceptable in the workplace. This includes using language that would be appropriate for the workplace as well. Gift giving – If gifts will be exchanged at the party, make sure to have a price limit on gifts and that gifts should not be obscene, offensive or of a sexually explicit nature. Impaired driving – To avoid employees driving after consuming alcohol, have your company make arrangements with a taxi firm to be available to transport employees who do not have a designated driver to get home safety. Smoking – Have a rule in place on smoking at the event, whether it prohibits it completely from the event or make sure there is a designated area for employees to go. These are just a few items to communicate to your employees...

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Holidays are coming up…already!

Holidays are coming up…already!

By on Oct 31, 2016 in Blog, Communication, HR Consulting | 1 comment

Hard to believe we are already at the end of October and with today being Halloween we know that November, December, and even January brings on the holiday season for 2016 and 2017. Rather than listing out all the holidays celebrated by different people throughout these two months, we wanted to provide some general reminders to help you plan your staffing and ensure that you are being fair and consistent when granting time off or flexible schedules. If you have not done so, prepare and post holiday schedules now indicating what days you will be open for business and which days you will be closed. If the holidays fall on weekends, will you close the day before or the day after the holiday? If so, make sure you let people know. Some industries, such as medical or retail, may have normal hours and scheduling or even longer hours. Make sure people are aware of this. It’s completely appropriate to state that you have certain ‘blackout’ periods in which no time off may be granted due to business needs. Keep in mind that there are a number of religious and other holidays throughout this period, some of which you may be unfamiliar. Make sure you treat people fairly even if it is a holiday that you do not know. Does your handbook state who is eligible for holiday time off and holiday pay? Have you explained how holiday pay is calculated?  If not, do yourself a favor and get your handbook language updated so that you don’t have to deal with any disputes or misunderstandings. Do you need assistance with your workforce strategy or other Human Resources consulting needs? Contact us and check out our blog for more helpful...

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