2024 workplace trends: conflict resolution - Enspark Interactive | Blog

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2024 workplace trends: conflict resolution

March 26, 2024

One of the emerging workplace trends for 2024 is employee conflict resolution. It’s not just about compelling employees to toe the line anymore, managers are expected to facilitate a, shall we say, good vibe among their team. 

While requiring managers to maintain a positive feeling among team members seems like a positive focus, it is a negative decline in employee wellness and coping skills that is creating its necessity. This, combined with the rise of the remote workplace is causing an unbalance in the work/life scale. 

Workplace experts call conflict resolution to be one trend to watch this year. Are you keeping your eyes on it?

Reasons for increased need

There are macro and micro reasons for increased conflicts among team members. 

As individuals, emotional resilience and feelings of connectedness have declined in the last three years. While many predicted that feelings of community and opportunities for overcoming personal challenges due to the pandemic would strengthen the workforce, this does not seem to be the case. Says Forbes: 

“Many are leading more individualistic lives, and much of the sense of community felt during Covid has been lost. Feeling more isolated and less connected leads to people ‘languishing’ in and out of work. More workers are ‘going through the motions’ rather than being committed and engaged in their work life. Ipsos’s 2023 Global Happiness report revealed that happiness is declining in Western countries, down 13% from 2022-2023. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, needed to manage emotions and overcome challenges, has also declined for the last three years. This drop in emotional health reduces employee resilience.” 

On a macro level, these are simply stressful times. Says Harvard Business Review

“This year, conflicts between employees are poised to be at an all-time high due to various crises, including geopolitical issues, labor strikes, climate change, pushback to DEI efforts, and upcoming elections for half of the globe. Conflict between employees at all levels pulls down both individual and team performance; for many, work is not a safe space.”

Impacts on employee performance

Conflict is the root cause of the majority of delays and difficulties in an organization, with 60-80% beginning with interpersonal tensions. 

The consequences of delays and difficulties for a company’s bottom line may be obvious, but the evolution from an unhappy employee to overall organizational profitability is less understood (or in some cases, prioritized). 

Conflict resolution has been one of the ongoing reasons that organizations have increasingly emphasized soft skills as requirements for emerging leaders. This focus has failed to keep up with the growing number of root causes for conflicts. The majority of employees believe that supervisors can handle conflicts more appropriately. 

Ways that managers are being asked to respond to

As the trend receives more attention more standard advice for managers is being discussed in professional publications. VONQ.com suggests the three following tips: 

Early detection of conflict potential

Promotion of open communication channels and mediation procedures

Training in conflict management and culture promotion

How is each executed? This will be the topic for a future post. 

The AI LinkedIn community presents the following emerging trends in workplace conflict resolution: 

Online and virtual conflict resolution

Collaborative and integrative negotiation

Cultural and generational diversity

Emotional intelligence and mindfulness 

How are your managers being trained to support team members through conflicts? Let us know in the comments. 

More about workplace dynamics:

Loneliness at work

Healthy vs Unhealthy Workplace Conflict

What is retaliation? 

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