Workplace Conflict Case Study – Bullying and Friction in the Workplace

Workplace Conflict - Bullying and Friction

The  Situation

A 25 year old recreational facility with 80 unionised and non-unionised employees including long serving employees with seniority and a mix of younger, less experienced staff with limited seniority. For years, management was aware of workplace conflict issue resulting from poor communication that existed between staff, with symptoms including friction between older and younger staff, and inability for staff to change.

Management’s response to the workplace conflict had been to keep conflicted parties away from each other, intentionally avoiding the underlying issues resulting the workplace conflicts. Lack of response led to a slow but steady escalation into negative behaviour with reports of bullying and even one incident of physical striking. In short – management was avoiding trying to deal with the root cause of the workplace conflict.

ProActive Resolutions Response

ProActive Resolutions was brought in to help address and remedy the situation with the goal of creating a long term, sustainable solution that was accepted by everyone involved in the workplace conflict.

ProActive Resolutions conducted their Respectful Workplace Fundamentals over a two day period. The objective was for “people to come out of sessions being able to handle the straight talk conversation with poise.”

It become clear through the sessions that the cause of the workplace conflict were stemming from the ‘unwritten rules’ of the facility that were resulting in a range of workplace conflict behaviours which led to disrespectful behaviours such as nagging, sarcasm, negativity, belittling, talking behind backs and even physical abuse. Employees felt they were poorly equipped to address these with with supervisors, staff or peers.

During the conference, the Straight Talk method facilitated the consensus that individuals had to take responsibility for their actions and “just do their jobs” and rise above the low end behaviour

At the end of the session, the participants agreed they would listen more and be more considerate of others, let the unimportant things go and deal with the import problem behaviours.

ProActive Results

Nearly two months later, the manager of the facility noted that the Straight Talk training they received during the Respectful Workplace sessions were being used all day: “It is incredible and unbelievable how well is working. People, who in the past would not even look at each other, are now using Straight Talk and working out their differences in a professional manner..”

Read more details about this case study in National Safety Magazine

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