The top three mistakes in dealing with conflict in the workplace.


1.  Ignoring the problem


Conflict is a natural and necessary aspect of professional and personal relationships.  It is inevitable and, if handled properly, an important part of business and personal growth.  As a manager or business owner you may think that you do not have time to deal with every little “spat” in your workplace.  However, if you choose to ignore conflicts, you are choosing to ignore an opportunity to make your business better and stronger.


2.  Assumptions


You know the old saying about assumptions.  Don’t ever assume that you know what others are thinking and feeling.  If you go into a dialogue with a resolution already in mind, you are missing the boat.  The key is looking at Needs First – Solutions Later.


3.  Jumping to compromise


There are two sisters in a kitchen and only one orange. Both of them want the orange. What could they do? Cut the orange in half, you say??


That’s what they did. One sister went to the juicer and started to squeeze herself a drink, which turned out too small to satisfy. She then threw out the rind. The other sister, with some difficulty, began to grate the rind of her half of the orange to flavor a cake. She then threw out the juicy pulp. They both had only half an orange when, in effect, they could have had the whole orange.


This simple story illustrates the problem with compromise.  The goal of resolving a conflict is NOT to compromise.  Compromise is a lose-lose scenario.  You are looking for a win-win!  The key to finding the win-win is in communication.  Get the parties together and have them each explain their needs, everyone might be surprised at what they learn.


Be aware, there is no one quick fix to every conflict.  The key is to get everyone talking, openly, honestly, and without fear of retribution.  As the manager, it is not up to you to resolve the issue, it is up to you to facilitate the dialogue so that the parties involved reach a solution together.


For more information on conflict resolution check out a free, full-length, preview of our Dialogues series.


According to a Gallup Poll, 51% of workers in the U.S. feel that they are underpaid!

The poll found that 51 percent of workers claimed they are underpaid for the work they do, compared with 46 percent of workers who say they are paid about the right amount for the work they do.

Three percent of workers admitted that they think they are overpaid for the work they do.

Among those who earn less than $75,000, 62 percent of respondents said they are underpaid, compared with 38 percent of workers who earn $75,000 or more.

Women (55 percent) were more likely than men (47 percent) to say they are underpaid for the work they do. Gallup conducted the poll via telephone with 557 full-time and part-time workers. Source: Gallup Poll.

How is your workforce doing?? If your workforce is less than fully engaged, People Wise (www.pwhrm) can help. It has been shown time and time again that “salary” is not the biggest motivator for most employees. Some of the biggest pushers for employee engagment are clear expectations and goals, an environment of continuous learning, and individual recognition. Many programs that foster these, can be put in place with very little investment.

Employee Training, Leadership Training, Employee Assessments, and Team Building Activities are all great ways to boost Employee Morale!

Solutions can be found today on or by calling 816-858-7300!

Gen Y – Success or Bust

August 11, 2008

What is happening to the workforce?  Where’s the work ethic?  Doesn’t any body want to work? If you are like most business leaders and owners I work with, you’ve no doubt noticed a trend in the way the “younger” employees have been behaving in recent years. Most likely, you consider it a negative trend; too much entitlement, not enough loyalty, no work ethic, only interested in them self, and not willing to make a sacrifice. 


Unless you live in total isolation, you have heard of and recognize this segment of the workforce is known as Generation Y.  Bottom line, this group has been in the workforce long enough to understand, and have key priorities identified.  Research by numerous groups and individuals has resulted in a consistent top three things this segment is looking for from an employer; a positive environment, interesting work, and probably the most important: the opportunity for continuous learning. 


Considering the cost of turnover — which is dependent on the source and position being filled, three months wages to 200% of an annual salary; ouch — there are retention strategies that make sense.  As a Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior Consultant, I tell you, give them what they want! 


Before you shoot me or discredit my perspective, consider the options and return on investment. 


Positive Environment – How is this achieved?  Clearly defined duties, candid and timely feedback documented in a formal evaluation or appraisal process, recognition, and reward for their efforts.  The cost associated with these items is far less that three months wages. 


Interesting Work – This is perhaps the most difficult of the three considerations to address.  Making of widgets falls slightly short of rocket science or 3-D computer programming.  However, if the right person is selected using job fit job match and professionally developed hiring assessment, success is achievable.  Also, employee retention and productivity will be the result when the other considerations are achieved. 


Continuous Learning – Creating an opportunity for continuous learning through training and development programs has more potential today than at any time in the past.  Online training programs are affordable and offer quality content in a wide variety of topics.  Taking advantage of this type of resource is also an excellent risk mitigation strategy.  Due diligence and good faith efforts in such areas as harassment prevention and diversity carry validity or recognition by various government and state agencies. 


Reducing turnover by 20% or a couple employees per year, along with increased productivity from tenure and experience will add significantly to the company’s customer satisfaction, success, and profits.  Consider the adage; you have to spend money to make money.  Invest in your most valuable asset, your human capital, and watch the returns. 

Kevin Robinson is the President and Senior Consultant for People Wise, a Kansas City based Human Resource Management Consulting and Solutions Firm.  In addition, Kevin is an instructor of Graduate and Undergraduate courses in Human Resource Management,

This article was originally published by Business Week. 

Well-trained employees are the key to your small business success. Studies have shown that the most successful, productive employees are those who have received extensive training. They’re the cream of the crop, often having the strongest stake in the company’s future.

In an ideal world, you would be able to hire people who already possess the exact skills your business needs. But in today’s competitive labor market, demand for skilled workers far exceeds supply.

That’s where training comes in. Not only does instruction arm your employees with needed professional or technical skills, but it also shows that you are invested in them and interested in bringing them with you into the company’s future. This helps keep workers motivated and involved.

To successfully launch an employee training program in your own company, follow these 10 helpful tips:

1.        Stress training as investment. The reason training is often considered optional at many companies is because it is thought of as an expense rather than an investment. While it’s true that training can be costly up front, it’s a long-term investment in the growth and development of your human resources.

2.       Determine your needs. As you probably don’t have unlimited time or funds to execute an employee training program, you should decide early on what the focus of your training program should be. Determine what skills are most pertinent to address current or future company needs or ones that will provide the biggest payback. Ask yourself, “How will this training eventually prove beneficial to the company?” Repeat this process as your business needs change.

3.      Promote a culture of learning. In today’s fast-paced economy, if a business isn’t learning, it’s going to fall behind. A business learns as its people learn. Communicate your expectations that all employees should take the necessary steps to hone their skills and stay on top of their professions or fields of work. Make sure you support those efforts by providing the resources needed to accomplish this goal.

4.     Get management on board. Once you have developed a prioritized list of training topics that address key needs within your company, you need to convince management to rally behind the initiative.

5.      Start out small. Before rolling out your training program to the masses, rehearse with a small group of users and gather their feedback. This sort of informal benchmarking exposes weaknesses in your training plans and helps you fine-tune the training process.

6.     Choose quality instructors and materials. Who you select to conduct the training will make a major difference in the success of your efforts, whether it’s a professional educator or simply a knowledgeable staff member. Having the right training materials is also important — after the training is over, these materials become valuable resources for trainees.

7.      Find the right space. Select a training location that’s conducive to learning. Choose an environment that’s quiet and roomy enough to spread out materials. Make sure the space is equipped with a computer and projector, so you can present a visually stimulating training session.

8.     Clarify connections. Some employees may feel that the training they’re receiving isn’t relevant to their job. It’s important to help them understand the connection early on, so they don’t view the training sessions as a waste of valuable time. Employees should see the training as an important addition to their professional portfolios. Award people with completion certificates at the end of the program.

9.      Make it ongoing. Don’t limit training solely to new employees. Organized, ongoing training programs will maintain all employees’ skill levels, and continually motivate them to grow and improve professionally.

10.   Measure results. Without measurable results, it’s almost impossible to view training as anything but an expense. Decide how you’re going to obtain an acceptable rate of return on your investment. Determine what kind of growth or other measure is a reasonable result of the training you provide. You’ll have an easier time budgeting funds for future training if you can demonstrate concrete results.

Whether training on-site or online remember, People Wise can help.