Dec 18,2018 | 14 min read

A Guide To Effective Dispute Resolution For HR

A Guide To Effective Dispute Resolution For HR

In this competitive world, working with people coming from different backgrounds, and of different age groups, varying experience, we’re likely to have different set of values, needs, and goals and opposite interests. 

If there can be disputes between family members, friends and acquaintances, workplace disputes shouldn’t come across as a surprise. Reason being different set of people function differently, and uncommon interest and opinions are not unlikely.

The thing with disputes is that they cannot and should not be ignored. They’re capable of disrupting relations, and can cause tremendous damage to business, company culture, work culture and an individual’s mental health.

In order to efficiently manage disputes at workplace and ensure a healthy and well-functioning company decorum, the HRs need to up their game. The Human Resource department plays a pivotal role in setting the tone of the company culture, work ethics, behaviour and maintaining it. Here is a guide to effective dispute resolution for HRs, but first let’s understand how disputes can damage the workplace –

  • Consume time: disputes are likely to eat up a lot of time, of the people involved, and the management.
  • Stressful: The environment becomes stressful, and so do the people involved.
  • Physically and psychologically consuming: Any kind of dispute is sure to cause psychological ease and eventually lead to physical incompetency.
  • Divert attention and energy: Negative thoughts consume the mind, and make it tough to focus. This results in lack of focus, and you feel drained.

Coming to effective dispute resolution, what actually is it? –

It refers to methods and processes used by HRs and trained professionals and neutrals to resolve any issues or disputes between employees at a workplace. They can do so by –

  • Negotiation- This refers to a discussion between the concerned parties. This discussion is about the disagreements between the parties, and making a bargain or deciding the way forward. This process may or may not involve the HR.
  • Conciliation- A third person like a neutral or a representative is asked to help the parties. The conciliator interacts with the parties separately and helps them reach a conflict-free decision.
  • Facilitation- It is another dispute resolution process which involves the HR to hold meetings, have discussions, define goals, ideate on how to achieve them, exchange problems and their solutions.
  • Mediation– Here, the HR acts as a mediator, or an external neutral is appointed to mediate and help the concerned to help communicate effectively, and reach a solution. The mediator doesn’t give any legal advices, take sides, or make decisions.

Researches done by organization show that mediation is the most effective dispute resolution method. Reasons being a third person is directly involved and gives un-biased suggestions and hence are accepted by the concerned parties.

  • Arbitration- It is a very common method to resolve workplace disputes. It is a form of formal proceeding wherein the HR listens to the dispute along with evidences and then decides renders a decision.
  • Neutral evaluation- This is another way where the HR hears both the parties and predicts courtroom outcomes. This is done so that the disputes can be efficiently solved without dragging matters to the court. Once the HR arrives to a conclusion(s), they may suggest them to the parties, hence helping them in making settlement.
  • Litigation – This dispute management process involves taking the dispute to the law. The dispute is then resolved in a legal manner and whatever decision is made by the law has to be abided by the concerned parties.

It is very evident that different people have different mind-sets and different understanding. Disputes are a part of life and can be dealt with just the right amount of understanding. 



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