For Grievance and Conflict Resolution, HR Case Management Software Can Be a Valuable Tool

conflict resolution

The following post first appeared in 2014. 

“A good manager doesn’t try to eliminate conflict,” says Robert Townsend, author of the bestseller Up the Organization, and co-author of Reinventing Leadership. “He tries to keep it from wasting the energies of his people.”

As an HR professional in an enterprise organization, you have a choice in how your team — and, therefore, your entire organization — handles all of the conflicts that arise from employee complaints, grievances, and concerns.

Some will be big blow-ups, the kind that enmesh managers and leadership. These are the types of conflicts that emphasize the importance of practicing risk reduction. Other grievances will be smaller — the kind settled easily and quietly, often having stemmed from a simple misunderstanding or lack of clear information.

Either way, as an HR leader, you can try to avoid conflict, but you can’t escape it. What you can do is exactly what Townsend suggests: Keep it from wasting the time, energy, and resources of everyone in your organization. How can you do that? Through organization, collaboration, and efficiency. Those are the keys to successfully and efficiently processing employee complaints, grievances, and concerns.

Those key processes are obtainable through an automated HR case management system. With a Web-based HR case management solution, like LBi HR HelpDesk, case data is easily available to the appropriate people. Every case’s workflow, related documents, notes, and history of transactions are readily accessible and visible for review.

After an employee submits a case, you can be sure it’s automatically routed to the correct HR team member or appropriate manager, depending on the type of report, the employee’s location, or other criteria you specify in the system. You can then customize the workflow to precisely align with the steps that need to be taken throughout any case — from its first report to its final disposition.

Often, the key to resolving conflict is collaboration. An automated HR help desk lets you share all applicable documents related to a case with the appropriate people. It also creates a fail-safe audit trail of all activity related to the case, in case look-back is needed.

Another key to easier conflict resolution is enhanced efficiency, something a good HR case management system will also do. LBi HR HelpDesk, for example, offers an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Anyone can easily make reports and can track their progress.

Finally, no one will feel comfortable engaging in a resolution process if they think their privacy or personal information will be compromised. If they don’t feel the system is secure, no amount of case-management organization or easy accessibility will help resolve the case. You should consider a case management system that at least has configurable security access, integration with Single Sign-on (SSO), multiple priority levels, and case-visibility settings.

In the end, employee concerns and grievances are resolved as easily, quickly, and clearly as possible — because, like it or not, they can’t be avoided.