The Facts on Conflict Resolution – and Your Role as a Human Resource Officer

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Your role as a human resource officer is varied, and depending on the situation, you may be asked to put on different hats. Though human resource involves a lot of research, a good grasp of the human mind, and a good understanding of the company and what it needs, one of the most important aspects of human resources is probably conflict resolution. It’s the most unpleasant but arguably the most important task.

It’s a tricky procedure, and it needs to be understood well. What is a conflict, anyway? What do we mean with ‘resolution?’ Here are the facts on conflict resolution – and your role as a human resource officer.

The conflict

To be sure, we’re talking about an interpersonal conflict. In essence, we’re talking about a struggle between the goals of two people or parties, how those goals should be achieved, or a scarcity of resources to achieve them. Understanding this definition can help you a great deal in figuring out where exactly the problem lies.

Complaints and criticism

Complaints and criticism are actually good things – provided they are constructed in a positive way. Often there is conflict due to negative criticism.

 The mediation

There are certain things you have to ensure in order to come to a resolution – the most important thing of which is the mediation. It’s often a stressful process so you want to make sure you are prepared as much as possible and have a good procedure in place. Here’s what will surely help you:

  • Preparation – make sure you can take notes or record the conversation, and make sure the involved parties understand some basic ground rules that will be followed throughout the resolution procedure. This is also where transcription services come in. With transcription services, you can simply record the conversation and then have it transcribed for later reference.
  • Understanding the conflict – You’ll need to practice active listening here in order to understand where the conflict comes from and what the different sides are.
  • Pinpointing important points – what are the most important points of disagreement?
  • Creating options – It’s a creative process and involves proposing win-win situations to both parties based on their grievances.
  • The agreement process – it should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and with a time limit.

It’s important for an HR officer to understand that mediation does not always work – sometimes the conflict is simply too large to be resolved and legal actions have to be considered. If the mediator has done what he or she can in order to reduce the conflict and bring it to rest with proposals that could have worked considering the circumstances, then the human resource officer certainly isn’t to blame if there is a negative outcome. The key is this: be prepared, be patient and understanding, and consider various options. Strive for balance.