Lack of effective dispute resolution training leads to escalation of conflict

Employers do not have effective procedures or training to prevent workplace disputes from escalating, research has revealed.

A study commissioned by law firm Nabarro has found that nearly two-thirds of organisations do not educate staff on dispute avoidance, less than 30% update their policies in light of lessons learned from previous disputes, and only 38% of employers train staff in this area.

Susan Gordon, employment dispute resolution partner at Nabarro said: “It is worrying that so many organisations seem to simply rely on having a policy in place with the implementation and training – so vital to success – potentially overlooked.

“Education and internal communications are crucial for improving the understanding of risk management procedures. The research reveals that frontline staff are critical in halting potential disputes before they erupt, but respondents admit that they often lack the knowledge or skills to resolve them effectively.”

Gordon said that risk management policies should include dispute resolution to “protect your organisation and employees”.

“This should include clear, practical dispute management procedures, and comprehensive training for employees,” she said.

Yet only a third of the 100 lawyers and managers interviewed for the survey – representing more than 1,000 employees – include disputes in their risk management policies.

Current dispute resolution law will be repealed in 2009, following a consultation earlier this year.

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