Inadequate action on disputes costs UK firms £69m a year

UK employers are losing £69m a year by failing to tackle workplace disputes, research claims.

Employers spend £172m on industrial tribunals each year, but this could be drastically reduced if they were to take more effective action before disputes reach a tribunal, according to mediation firm Right Corecare.

Breakdowns in interpersonal relations represent the top reason that companies call in the mediation companies.

Heavy workloads, unclear objectives, poor communication, infrequent support and a lack of praise are all common catalysts for friction.

Bullying and harassment is the next most likely reason that organisations turn to external help.

Marilyn Appleton, mediation practice leader at Right Corecare, said: “With a litigation culture arriving in the UK, employers need to act now in order to reduce the risks to their business in terms of high legal costs and damage to overall morale in stress-related absence and employment tribunals.”

Top tips for resolving dispute

  1. Tackle disputes and breakdowns in relationships as soon as they arise

  2. Train managers in conflict resolution skills

  3. Have good policies on conduct and behaviour in the workplace and communicate them well to all staff

  4. Ensure employees understand the support available and the lines of communication if they are unhappy about a situation

  5. Have clear and specific job descriptions

  6. Practice good induction processes for new staff

  7. Provide stress awareness training for all staff

  8. Develop a good business management system with clear operating procedures and work instructions.

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