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Preventing Employee Conflict: 5 Best Practices for Small Businesses

Ways Managers Should Support Employees

Employee conflict is a common problem in most workplaces. It can be caused by various reasons, including misunderstandings, personality clashes, competition for resources, power struggles, and harassment. Such conflicts can have negative impacts on the business, including decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and employee turnover. 

This blog post will provide small business owners with practical strategies to prevent employee conflict in the workplace, with a particular emphasis on preventing harassment in the workplace.

Establish Clear Policies and Procedures

Clear policies and procedures provide guidelines for employees to follow, ensuring that everyone knows what is expected of them. Establishing these policies can help to prevent conflict before it even arises. Small business owners should develop and communicate policies on expected behavior, including a code of conduct, disciplinary procedures, and a harassment policy. These policies should be shared with all employees and should be revisited periodically to ensure that they remain up-to-date.

Promote Open Communication

Open communication is essential in preventing employee conflict. Small business owners should encourage open communication between employees by creating opportunities for them to communicate with each other. This can be done through team-building exercises, social events, and regular meetings. When employees feel that they can communicate openly with their colleagues and managers, they are more likely to address any issues before they escalate.

Provide Training on Conflict Resolution

Training on conflict resolution can help employees to develop the skills they need to manage conflict when it arises. Small business owners can provide training to their employees on how to recognize and manage conflict, as well as how to resolve conflict in a constructive way. This training can include teaching employees how to listen actively, understand different perspectives, and negotiate solutions that are acceptable to all parties. This training can also include educating employees on preventing harassment in the workplace and what steps they can take if they experience or witness it.

Foster a Positive Workplace Culture

A positive workplace culture can go a long way in preventing employee conflict. Small business owners can foster a positive workplace culture by promoting a healthy work-life balance, recognizing employees for their achievements, and providing opportunities for professional development. When employees feel valued and supported, they are less likely to engage in conflict with their colleagues.

Take Prompt Action

When employee conflict does arise, it is important to take prompt action to resolve it. Small business owners should have a process in place for addressing conflict, including a clear reporting mechanism for employees who experience harassment in the workplace. This process should be communicated to all employees, and they should be encouraged to use it whenever they experience or witness conflict in the workplace.


Preventing employee conflict in the workplace is essential for the success of any small business. By establishing clear policies and procedures, promoting open communication, providing training on conflict resolution, fostering a positive workplace culture, and taking prompt action when conflict arises, small business owners can create a work environment that is conducive to productivity and positive interactions between employees. 

Additionally, preventing harassment in the workplace is crucial for maintaining a safe and respectful workplace for all employees. Small business owners must take steps to prevent harassment from occurring and address it promptly and effectively when it does occur. By doing so, they can create a workplace culture that is inclusive, respectful, and productive.

Published: April 21, 2023

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