How Do You Implement A Personalized Conflict Management Training Program For Global Teams?
A conflict management training program is more than just instilling basic interpersonal skills and teaching employees how to diffuse arguments. It also prevents conflicts before they even begin so that you can maintain a safe and supportive work environment. Every member of the team feels like they’re part of a community where it’s okay to voice your opinions and concerns without fearing co-worker backlash. They learn how to respect each other’s differences and turn minor disagreements into learning opportunities. But how do you launch a successful strategy for your geographically dispersed workforce? This guide has all the insider info you need to develop memorable and meaningful L&D experiences. First, let’s look at some of the top reasons why you should deploy conflict management training for your global staffers.
Sneak Preview Of This Guide
- Reasons Why Conflict Management Training Is Crucial In Today’s Corporate World
- Key Traits Of Effective Conflict Management Training
- Steps To Launch A Successful Conflict Resolutions Skills Training Plan
- Competencies To Consider For Your Conflict Resolution Skills Training
- Conflict Management Strategies To Incorporate Into Your Certification Course
1. Reasons Why Conflict Management Training Is Crucial In Today’s Corporate World
A common misconception about conflict management is that it’s reactive and that employees must learn how to deal with the fallout of workplace arguments and personality clashes. In truth, effective conflict resolution skills training takes a proactive approach. Staffers master the fine art of communication, compromise, and practical problem-solving to prevent on-the-job disagreements. They also discover ways to productively disagree and stand up for their beliefs without creating a hostile work environment. Thus, your team must know how to handle challenging customers and co-workers with tact to bolster company morale (and its bottom line). Below are just a few reasons why a conflict management training program is crucial in today’s corporate world.
Improve Team Dynamics
A major part of conflict management skills training is knowing how to work together and engage in constructive dialogue. Even if employees disagree, they can use the opportunity to explore co-workers’ viewpoints and evaluate their own cognitions. For example, they may realize that their current assumptions are incorrect or that they’ve been harboring hidden biases that hinder work relationships. As a result, conflict management training improves the team dynamic so that petty arguments don’t stand in the way of organizational goals.
Mitigate Compliance Risks
Most companies have compliance regulations or policies in place to prevent on-the-job quarrels. They don’t want employee clashes to escalate into full-fledged fights and spill out onto the sales floor. Conflict management skills help mitigate these compliance risks and keep everyone safe in the workplace—this includes innocent bystanders (AKA customers and other staffers) who may get caught in the co-worker crossfire. Fewer policy breaches prevent fines and penalties. It also ensures that you have all the bases covered in the event of an HR compliance audit.
Improve Customer Service And Sales
It’s not only fellow staffers involved in workplace conflicts, customers or clients may walk into your establishment ready for a fight. Or maybe they had a bad day and the sales transaction quickly turns into a hostile situation. It could be that they simply disagree with your policies and protocols and are unable to control their temper. Employees must know how to handle these tricky interactions without losing a valuable customer or putting themselves in danger. Thus, conflict resolution skills training equips them with the tools they need to improve customer service and sales stats.
Instill A Sense Of Community
In many respects, employees are like a second family, if you can build a strong and supportive corporate community that is. Conflict resolution skills training helps you cultivate a more collaborative culture within your organization. Employees learn how to share their ideas, concerns, and opinions without stepping on anyone’s toes. For instance, a particularly vocal member of your customer service department develops their active listening abilities instead of shouting at a co-worker when they disagree with their methods, they now pull them aside and politely suggest alternatives. Employees become part of a cohesive community that strives for common goals because they value feedback from staffers rather than viewing it as a personal attack.
Reduce Employee Turnover
Staffers are more likely to stay with your organization if their basic needs are met, namely their need for personal security and emotional stability, which are the cornerstones of effective conflict management training. This reduces employee turnover and helps you retain top talent, rather than paying to train their replacement and losing a valued member of the team who possesses niche skillsets. Furthermore, conflict resolution skills training bolsters their self-confidence because it prepares them for every eventuality. They’ve mastered the tasks and compliance protocols. But the human element is always the “wild card.” Conflict management provides them with vital skills so employees can handle potential spats and minimize the impact they have on work duties.
Boost Workplace Productivity
Conflict management training enhances on-the-job productivity because employees understand how to engage in healthy discourse without creating offense. They also know they can rely on their team to help them navigate challenges. For example, they’re able to ask a co-worker for advice on how to perform the task or deal with a difficult customer even if that co-worker has some personality quirks or has disagreed with them in the past. As such, every employee is prepared to tackle everyday obstacles and accept new job responsibilities, given that there’s a peer-based support network to fall back on.
Enhance Your Brand Image
Companies who invest in conflict management skills resources retain top performers and prioritize customer satisfaction. Thereby, improving their brand image and reputation. It also helps that employees aren’t engaging in all-out brawls in front of clients because they know how to agree to disagree. A better brand image means a better bottom line and repeat business. Consumers expect to be greeted by professional staffers who handle their issues with decorum and don’t let anger get the best of them.
2. Key Traits Of Effective Conflict Management Training
An effective conflict management training program is about quelling conflicts before they start instead of dealing with the backlash of on-the-job squabbles, equipping employees with all the knowledge they need to engage in open dialogue and respect coworkers’ viewpoints. But how do you cultivate interpersonal skills and build experiential knowledge if your team works remotely? How do you cater to everyone’s needs when they hail from different backgrounds? The solution is an effective conflict management training program that touches on all the key competencies and resolution tactics, a strategy that puts employees in control and fosters a collaborative training community. Let’s look at 8 essential traits of conflict resolution skills training you should consider for your certification course.
Conflicts are often personal, even if they happen in the workplace. Emotions run high and a misspoken word could set everything into motion. Thus, your conflict management training program must be employee-centered. It should immerse employees in the situation and make them feel like they’re part of the experience. Encourage them to pick their own activities and go at their own pace to build self-confidence. Lastly, develop individualized certification paths that cater to personal gaps. Start with self-assessments to identify areas for improvement and offer targeted training recommendations.
Fosters Real-World Application
Honing conflict resolution skills is one thing, but employees must know how to apply them in real-world situations to reap the rewards of conflict management training. Give employees ample opportunity to put their talents into action and reinforce what they’ve learned. This may be in the form of simulations and scenarios that test decision-making and problem-solving skills, or video demos that show them how to tactfully resolve co-worker arguments behind the scenes.
Centers On Conflict Prevention
A common misconception regarding conflict resolution training is that it occurs after the fact. That it teaches employees how to react to stressful situations and minimize the impact conflicts have on their job duties. In reality, effective conflict managing strategies should center on prevention. Give employees the resources, competencies, and firsthand experience they need to avoid arguments in the first place. There’s also a second facet, which is to highlight the importance of healthy conflict. For example, they don’t always have to agree but they must know how to respect each other’s opinions. And to look past their differences to reach a mutual understanding.
All conflict management styles are somewhat cathartic because you must be able to evaluate your own behaviors and cognitions. Employees need to reflect on their personal assumptions, beliefs, and attitudes to identify strengths and weaknesses. For example, a simulation reveals a certain bias that is hindering work relationships. They must get beyond these limiting beliefs to boost on-the-job productivity and become part of the corporate community.
Fosters Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills are a major component of conflict resolution training because it’s rooted in basic human social interactions. Staffers need to know how to actively listen to peers and decipher non-verbal cues, as well as empathize with others and reserve judgment. Poor interpersonal skills often lead to misunderstandings that spiral out of control. For instance, someone misreads an expression or tone of voice, which results in hurt feelings and hidden resentments. This could have all been avoided with a little tact and soft skill cultivation.
Offers JIT Support
Employees don’t plan on conflicts, as a general rule. They simply spring up throughout the course of their workday to cause unnecessary stress. Thus, JIT support tools help employees smooth out the rough spots and maximize on-the-job productivity. As an example, tutorials, video clips, and real-world examples reinforce skills and positive performance behaviors. Your microlearning support library should also feature quick troubleshooting guides and tips, like how to deal with difficult customers without making them feel patronized, or pointers to diffuse tense situations between coworkers on the sales floor.
Facilitates Practical Problem Solving
The theme that runs through every conflict management training program activity is practicality. This isn’t the time for theories. Employees must know how to solve common problems and take a proactive approach to damage control, when necessary. Personas are one of the most effective ways to facilitate problem-solving skills, such as simulations, serious games, or branching scenarios that feature unique characters and associated challenges. For instance, trainees must use their interpersonal skills and compliance knowledge to handle an irate customer who wants a return past the deadline, or they have to contend with an overbearing team leader who critiques them in front of clients.
Provides Social Learning Opportunities
Online forums, collab projects, and social media groups are just a few tools you can use to facilitate knowledge sharing. Peer coaching also helps build experiential know-how amongst your team. The primary benefit of social learning in conflict management training is strengthening empathy skills. Allowing trainees to explore new perspectives and hone their emotional intelligence. They have the chance to share ideas, collectively overcome challenges, and build a better team dynamic. All while learning how to see things from a different POV to avoid potential conflicts.
3. Steps To Launch A Successful Conflict Resolutions Skills Training Plan
Conflict resolution skills are often challenging to cultivate. Especially if your employees work remotely and in-person peer support isn’t an option. How can geographically dispersed staffers build their interpersonal skills and real-world experience from afar? A solid conflict management strategy and the right learning tech can help you prevent on-the-job quarrels and personality clashes, as well as strengthen the team dynamic so that employees can tap into a peer support network. But how do you launch a successful conflict resolution training program after you make the business case? Here are 8 essential steps to implement conflict management in the workplace today.
Prioritize Conflict Resolution Risks
There are some conflict scenarios that are more feasible than others. For example, your team probably won’t have to contend with an unhinged crowd of angry consumers every day. In reality, they may have to appease an upset customer who wants to exchange an item or complain about the warranty. Thus, you need to prioritize conflict resolution risks to stretch available resources and make training relevant. Survey your team to identify potential stressors and communication sticking points. Then, narrow the scope of your project to provide your team with spot-on support.
Evaluate Reusable Assets To Cut Costs
Take stock of your current assets to look for materials that can be repurposed for conflict management in the workplace, such as videos, recorded webinars, and presentations you can break into bite-sized support tools. This is also your opportunity to ensure that your toolbox is up to the task. Do you have the necessary authoring software for your conflict management training program? If you’re outsourcing, will the content provider take care of associated tool costs? Can they reuse existing materials to reduce spending?
Develop An Accurate Implementation Budget And Timeline
A budget and timeline are essential whether you hire an eLearning content provider or develop content in-house. Develop a realistic expense sheet for conflict resolution skills training that includes TNA, content creation, internal marketing, and maintenance. You must also determine how much time it will take to develop and deploy conflict management training, taking potential delays into account. For example, you might include a one week buffer for tech obstacles or unexpected revisions.
Determine In-House Versus Outsourcing Tasks
Separate internal versus outsourcing tasks based on team expertise, budget, and turnaround time. Is it more cost-effective to hire an eLearning content provider who already has the necessary tools and experience? Should you entrust the task to your L&D staffers to retain full creative control? Another factor to consider is insider knowledge. Can the vendor capture the essence of your brand? Are they aware of the skills and conflict resolution styles involved?
Find The Right Tools For The Task
Authoring software, Learning Management Systems, and video conferencing platforms are some of the most common conflict resolution skills training tools. Create a separate software budget and must-have features list. Then vet vendors and sign up for free trials to maximize ROI. You should also get input from your L&D team. What is their level of tech expertise? Can they recommend any tools they’ve used for past projects? Even if you choose to outsource conflict solution training online, you may need to invest in a new LMS or authoring software for content upkeep.
Develop Contextual Training Content
The tricky thing about conflict management in the workplace is that there’s so much ground to cover. There are countless potential conflicts that may occur on-the-job, and you can’t possibly include all of them in your training strategy. The solution is to keep it contextual so that employees have the basic conflict resolution components. Start with simulations, scenarios, and real-world examples with a narrower scope, such as a coworker disagreement or a hot-tempered client who wants to file a complaint. This allows staffers to build related skills and abilities, as well as expand their experiential knowledge. Then they can apply what they’ve learned in different situations once they’ve mastered the interpersonal fundamentals.
Launch An Internal Marketing Strategy
Employees need to know which resources are available and how those resources tie into real-world outcomes. So, launch an internal marketing strategy to raise trainee awareness and encourage self-analysis. Include follow-up recommendations after each training activity. Create LMS user groups that automatically assign resources based on past performance and departmental duties. Host peer groups or live events to showcase the new conflict resolution skills courses and their practical benefits. Of course, marketing also earns a spot in your L&D budget to avoid overspending.
Gather Feedback And Fine-Tune
All training plans should be flexible and adaptable. Gather feedback from front and back end users to continually improve your strategy. Does it cover all the essential interpersonal skills? Are the support tools easily accessible? Is there something for everyone, or have you overlooked conflict resolution styles? LMS reports, assessments, and real-world observations are other great diagnostic tools. For example, 75% of your customer service staffers struggle with the conflict resolution simulation, which tells you that there’s room for improvement and you may need to facilitate more practical application.
4. Competencies To Consider For Your Conflict Resolution Skills Training
Modern organizations are often a melting pot of cultures and personality types, which means that quarrels are bound to happen. Everyone’s committed to the company’s success, but personal biases and differing opinions can cause unnecessary stress. That’s why a conflict management training program is integral in today’s corporate world. It boosts staffer self-confidence and gives them all the tools they need to maintain open lines of communication. The secret is knowing which talents to cultivate given that your conflict management training program is heavily rooted in soft skills and intangible abilities that are usually difficult to fine-tune and track in online training. Focus on these 7 key competencies for your conflict resolution skills training course to improve ROI and retain your top performers.
Communication skills cover a broad spectrum, from active listening to non-verbal cues. Employees must be able to decipher people’s expressions and vocal tones to interact with peers and customers. One of the most effective ways to build communication skills is group collab projects or peer mentoring. Staffers learn how to absorb information, organize their thoughts, then engage in productive discussions. For example, they must all provide feedback and ideas then determine the best course of action. Nobody should feel left out of the conversation or disrespected by other group members.
Conflict resolution often boils down to problem-solving. How can employees reach an outcome that is mutually beneficial without going against company policy or personal beliefs? Thus, you must focus on creative reasoning and practical problem-solving so that staffers know how to diffuse tense situations quickly on the job. Use real-world examples and troubleshooting tips to help them navigate challenging situations. For instance, a checklist that features all the conflict resolution protocols for co-worker squabbles, from pulling the colleague aside to reporting over-the-top behaviors to team leaders according to company policy.
It’s often challenging to step into someone else’s shoes when emotions run high. Employees might be upset, offended, or disappointed by the other person’s response. However, this is the time when they need to empathize and see things from a different perspective. Personal anecdotes and customer persona backstories can help them relate and build crucial empathy skills in conflict resolution training. These activities also allow them to explore the reasons behind negative reactions. For example, anger may simply be a coping mechanism.
Another emotional competency to develop is EI, which teaches employees how to manage and express their feelings productively instead of letting their emotions get the better of them. Simulations are the ideal training tool because they let staffers gauge their level of emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. As an example, is the employee able to control their anger during a co-worker argument? Can they look at the situation objectively and put their emotions to one side in order to resolve the issue? Are they even aware of their emotions while they’re caught up in the moment and how those emotions impact others?
Your workforce must collectively achieve organizational objectives and become a cohesive unit. Thus, one of the most essential conflict resolution strategies is teamwork, emphasizing the importance of leading as well as following, based on the set of circumstances. Can employees play their role in team settings without letting their personal biases or opinions stand in the way? Are they able to push their differences aside to accomplish the goals? Group projects and online discussions are ideal for teamwork skills because it involves remote collaboration. Use video conferencing tools so that nothing is lost in translation (i.e., analyzing facial expressions instead of misreading instant messages).
Positivity is one of the most difficult skills to hone because it’s usually an innate personality trait; some people are born to see the glass half full. However, you can also instill optimism in conflict management training with storytelling, simulations, and serious games. Activities that encourage employees to evaluate their current mindset and behaviors so that they can understand others’ motivations. For instance, they don’t automatically judge a hostile customer who demands a return or a colleague who comes to work in a bad mood. Rather, they try to sympathize with others and approach the issue with positivity. Maybe the angry party simply needs a listening ear or to air their grievances. Their outlook plays a vital role in conflict resolution because it sets the precedence. Negativity will only be met with negativity.
Stress is often associated with conflict. Employees hope that they never have to deal with tension in the workplace, but it may be unavoidable so they need to know how to manage their stress levels to ensure their own wellbeing. This usually involves a significant amount of self-analysis and reflection. How do they handle negative situations and how can they improve their response? Do they have healthy ways to “blow off steam” after the fact or do they keep the stress pent up until it boils over? Staffers must also understand their common triggers and minimize the impact these stressors have on their workplace behaviors. It’s all about self-awareness.
5. Conflict Management Strategies To Incorporate Into Your Certification Course
Everyone handles conflicts differently based on past experiences, learned behaviors, and personality traits. While some avoid it like the plague and run away, others lash out when confronted and try to prove their point. However, effective conflict management activities help employees reevaluate their approach based on company protocols and policies. Do their behaviors align with the brand image? Are assumptions or personal biases hindering work relationships? Do they need to broaden their real-world experience to diffuse tense situations and improve service scores? Incorporate these conflict management training program strategies into your certification course to prompt self-reflection and build crucial competencies.
Collaborative Problem-Solving Groups
Getting the root of the problem and why the conflict arose in the first place is one of the most essential conflict management strategies. Employees must understand the motivations and emotional factors in play to resolve the issue, as well as prevent similar conflicts moving forward. Collaborative problem-solving groups encourage staffers to evaluate new approaches and reevaluate their current behaviors/reactions. They post recent challenges and ask for peer feedback. How would their co-workers deal with a client who starts an argument after the employee declines a bribe (and avoids a COI breach)? Everyone can provide input based on past experience and assess the situation from different angles. You can even post fictional stories or case studies to start the discussion.
Gamification To Spark Competition And Team Building
Some people have more competitive conflict management styles. They’re assertive and seize the opportunity to make their point and one-up the other party. However, you can turn this negative into a positive with gamification, like serious games and in-course rewards that fuel friendly competition and team building. Trainees learn how to work together to achieve common goals while striving for the top spot on the leaderboard. Behind the scenes, they share pointers to help each other succeed and bridge personal skill gaps because they understand the importance of collaboration and communication in fostering a stronger team dynamic.
Real-World Examples To Showcase Compromise In Action
Compromise is another essential ingredient in a conflict management training program. Sometimes employees must take the middle ground to achieve the desired results and avoid conflict, without violating company policy or tarnishing your brand image, of course. Real-world examples show them how to compromise on the job and let logic trump emotional responses. For instance, the example features two staffers who disagree about company policies and how to apply them in the current situation, which results in a conflict at the next departmental meeting. Is there a way that both parties can compromise to prevent future resentments and maintain a healthy team dynamic? Which skills are involved and how did the scenario highlight personal areas for improvement?
Practical Conflict Prevention Demos
Offer a visual example of how to effectively resolve conflicts and prevent them from happening to begin with. These video demos should show employees how to use their core competencies and experience to steer clear of conflict, as well as common mistakes to avoid. Are there any inflammatory buzzwords they should omit from their vocabulary? What’s the best way to handle different personality types and conflict management styles? You can even use cartoons to illustrate the point without getting live actors involved.
Accommodating is one step further than compromise, as it usually involves more self-sacrifice. Thus, it must be exercised in moderation, without violating personal principles or brand reputation. Empathy-building scenarios and simulations reveal the other side of the story, the side that many people overlook because they are too focused on their own goals and don’t want to admit defeat. These conflict management activities help them relate to the other party and accommodate their needs but not to the point that they simply give up or stand down on issues that are important to them.
Tutorials That Highlight Productive Conflict Management Protocols
Not all conflicts are bad, sometimes you learn valuable lessons and work through team issues. For example, there may be underlying resentments simmering for weeks and a simple disagreement ignites a full-fledged quarrel. Productive conflict management techniques can turn clashes into learning opportunities. Create tutorials that cover the basics, such as how to engage in healthy debates while respecting everyone’s viewpoint. Include some troubleshooting tips so they know how to handle situations that veer from the norm. For instance, a colleague insists on proving their point, even though they are misinformed. How should the trainee prevent conflict without compromising too much or making the co-worker feel alienated?
Self-Assessments That Boost Emotional Awareness
Humans often follow their instincts and react out of emotion. They may not even be aware of their personal triggers or how they respond in certain situations. However, self-assessments can raise their awareness and bring pain points to the forefront. As an example, simulations or serious games reveal that stress or lack of empathy is their primary challenge. Thus, they may need to focus on those key competencies to improve their conflict management styles or approach. Self-analysis also allows them to identify strengths they can use to mitigate risks and prevent future conflicts.
Mistakes are part of the process. However, this guide can help you implement a successful conflict resolution training program the first time around, minus costly trial and error. Whether you choose to outsource or handle the project in-house, clear objectives and timelines are a great starting point. Develop personalized content that centers on real-world skills and performance behaviors. Then, gather feedback from the team to fine-tune your conflict management training plan and incorporate more bite-sized support. Which eLearning content provider suits your budget and use case? Search our free online directory for the right outsourcing partner in your price range. Vet vendors and read reviews to get the best value for money.
Conflict management training styles should vary based on the subject matter, employee preferences, and organizational objectives. However, these traits should always be present in your skill-building strategy. Make it employee-centered, collaborative, and practical to boost learner engagement. Our exclusive eBook walks you through every step of the process, whether you’re developing in-house or hiring an outsourcing partner. Download Remote Team Dynamics: How To Launch A Successful Conflict Management Training Program For Your Global Workforce today!