No matter what kind of business dispute you run into, it can be frustrating to know that you’re going to have to spend time and money handling a disagreement and lawsuit. Workplace disputes, in particular, can easily cause problems for a business owner.
As someone trying to run a successful business, there are a few tips you can use to handle business disputes and resolve them (hopefully without going to court).
- Make sure employees have a process for filing complaints
It is helpful to have a process for filing complaints in your workplace, so that they are handled when they arise and you have the option of nipping them in the bud. When you have a clear protocol for reporting problems and react to those issues quickly, you are making sure that people are being treated equally and fairly. It’s too simple for problems to get ignored or lost as a company grows, so make sure you know that a formal process is in place to be sure those complaints make it to your desk. Then, when they do, respond.
- Focus attention on the problem and really discuss it
The next thing to do is to talk to the person who has a problem. Whether it’s a client, employee, supervisor or someone else, you need to hear what the issue is and why they feel that you’re responsible. What do they want to get out of the situation? Are they asking you to retrain someone or asking for you to compensate them for something of theirs that has been damaged? Listen carefully before offering any kind of solution or rejecting what they’re asking for.
- Try to resolve the conflict amicably
Finally, try to resolve to conflict. Think reasonably about what the other person is asking for and if their request is reasonable. For instance, a woman who has been harassed may ask that the other worker doesn’t work with her. Do you want to fight the claim, or would you rather just move the offending worker to a new shift? As a business owner, you should be thinking about the bottom line, which is how you can save money and keep the workplace running smoothly.
If someone decides to take you to court, remember that you do have the option to defend yourself against false claims and allegations. However, many disputes can be resolved before they reach this point.