Red Wolf Mediation & ADR Services has recently partnered with the Workplace Fairness Institute to design culturally relevant Workplace Conflict Management Systems with First Nations across Ontario.. We endeavor to assist communities develop new knowledge and innovative tools to enhance their existing conflict management system that incorporates the Teachings of the 7 Grandfathers; Love, Respect, Wisdom, Bravery, Honesty, Humility and Truth.
Workplace Conflict Management Systems Design
David is a Certified Workplace Fairness Analyst (WFA) a designation given by the Workplace Fairness Institute. This designation gives me the knowledge and tools to build proactive conflict management systems in union and non-union environments. Conflict is defined as a difference of wants, needs, or expectations. The workplace is filled with people who have differences of wants, needs, and expectations and personality traits so, of course, conflicts will and do occur. These conflicts can be an asset to the organization as well as opportunities for creativity, collaboration, and improvement.
But conflict can also be costly to an organization. The trouble isn’t necessarily the fact that conflict exists. It’s how we deal with those conflicts or what happens when they aren’t resolved. The impact of conflict in the workplace can be devastating – to the parties involved, to colleagues and teams, to clients, and to the business as a whole.
Difficult workplace conflict issues happen every day across the spectrum of business and government establishments. Today, workplace conflict resolution is easier to achieve than ever before. The reason is the effectiveness of what is called ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’, or, ADR. We all have the ability to develop the necessary skills to address conflict in the workplace. We able to assist workers and employers with professional dispute resolution services that will help to identify communication issues and strengthen work relationships. Developing the appropriate negotiation tools and with the assistance of an expert can dramatically increase practical solutions.
What Is Workplace Fairness?
Workplace Fairness is defined as the harmony of Justice, Efficiency, Engagement and Resource Sufficiency in Workplace Conflict Management Systems. Each of these four Fairness Quotients: Justice, Efficiency, Engagement, and Resources consist of a number of elements or focuses as listed in the table below. These are the constituent parts of workplace fairness.
Workplace Fairness is that commodity most sought after by employees, managers and employers. Where a workplace meets the standards of fairness listed above, it will be a healthier, happier and more productive workplace.
Donais Fairness Theory
According to the Donais Fairness Theory, Fairness Excellence can be measured and achieved in any workplace. If your accountant can measure and predict the company’s financial forecast, why not use experience and informed decision-making to assess the fairness of your company’s conflict management system? We offer tools to understand and effectively modify your workplace fairness system.
The Cost and Value of Workplace Conflict
Workplace Conflict can be both positive and negative for an organization.
Workplace conflict, improperly managed, can have a tremendous cost on the health of any workplace. These costs include:
- Expense of formal dispute resolution.
- Decreased individual competence.
- Ineffective working relationships.
- Toxic communication.
- Impaired staff and team development.
- Increased absenteeism.
- Increased resignations and dismissals.
- Emotionally charged workplaces.
- Tarnished image.
- Decreased productivity.
- Breakdown in trust of hierarchy.
Many of these factors have an effect on the bottom line of a company’s performance. Conflict wastes the time of managers, human resources professionals, labour representatives and employees themselves. It effects the quality of decisions that are made because people in conflict are less likely to share vital information and more likely to get into power struggles. Poorly managed conflict can result in the loss of valuable employees and the expense of hiring and retraining new ones. It can lead to costly restructuring and even sabotage, theft and property damage. In addition, poorly managed conflict effects the health of workplace participants causing increased stress levels, and increased usage of sick leave and disability claims. In the end, conflict can lead to compromised job satisfaction, poor motivation and lack of engagement among employees, and thus low human performance.
While conflict can come at great cost to any workplace, it can also have tremendous benefits when managed properly. Conflict can be used as a catalyst for healthy competition in workplaces that rely upon competition to promote excellence. Conflict can bring underlying workplace issues into the open so that they can be resolved. Conflict can promote a better understanding of differences. When brought to the surface it can dissipate anger and raise awareness of other peoples’ needs. It can also be used as a way of placing focus upon common goals. It can be lead to increased team spirit. Properly managed conflict fosters healthy dialogue and can motivate people to raise issues and discuss new ideas. Conflict challenges existing inadequacies in the workplace and can lead to a reassessment of workplace structures. Thus while poorly managed conflict is destructive, properly managed conflict can lead to workplace renewal.
At the Workplace Fairness Institute we are dedicated to helping your workplace minimize negative conflict and channel positive conflict into productive avenues for workplace excellence.
Blaine Donais B.A., LL.B., LL.M. (ADR), RPDR, C.MED, WFA., President and Founder
Author of Workplaces That Work and Engaging Unionized Employees (published by Canada Law Book), and the WFI WHITE PAPER on Workplace Conflict Management in Canada, Blaine has spent many years improving working relationships in public and private sectors. He authored the Donais Fairness Theory: that Fairness Excellence can be measured and achieved in any workplace.
Blaine, a labour lawyer and member of the Law Society of Upper Canada since 1995, is an expert in both the practice and theory of assisted labour/management negotiation, mediation-arbitration and facilitation. He has the Chartered Mediator (C.MED.) designation from the ADR Institute of Canada, and is a Registered Practitioner of Dispute Resolution (RPDR) through the Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiations (CIIAN).
Blaine trains Human Resources professionals, Labour leaders and others in Human Rights, Labour and Employment law, Human Resources, Collective Bargaining and Conflict Resolution. He is presently Adjunct Professor of Workplace Dispute Resolution at Atkinson College, York University, Toronto, and Adjunct Professor for the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto. This designation gives me the knowledge and tools to build proactive conflict management systems in union and non-union environments.