The Cost of Conflict: Why Failing to Mediate Workplace Disputes Could Leave Your Business Out in the Cold

The risks of ignoring workplace conflict: the price businesses pay for not mediating disputes between employees

Darryl Horn, Thursday, 23 March 2023 • 3 min read

Conflict is a part of life, and the workplace is no exception. As a manager or employer, dealing with conflicts between employees can be a headache, but failing to address them can be far worse. When left unchecked, workplace conflicts can escalate and have a significant impact on team dynamics and business performance. In this article, we will explore the risks of not undertaking a good mediation between two employees.

The Costs of Conflict

Ignoring conflicts between employees can lead to a range of negative consequences for a business. Here are a few potential costs of not mediating disputes:

  1. Reduced Productivity

When there is conflict between employees, it's not uncommon for productivity to take a hit. Disputes can distract employees from their work, causing delays and missed deadlines. If left unresolved, conflicts can escalate, leading to absenteeism, high staff turnover, and a decline in productivity.

  1. Damaged Reputation

Workplace conflicts can create a toxic atmosphere and lead to bad publicity for a business. Negative reviews on sites like Glassdoor can damage a business's reputation, deterring potential clients and employees from wanting to work with or for the company.

  1. Legal Action

In some cases, unresolved conflicts can result in legal action being taken against a business. If an employee feels that they have been mistreated or discriminated against, they may take legal action. This can be costly and time-consuming for a business, and may also result in reputational damage.

  1. High Staff Turnover

When conflicts go unresolved, employees may feel undervalued, unsupported, or disrespected, leading to high staff turnover rates. The cost of recruiting and training new employees can be significant, impacting a business's bottom line.

The Benefits of Mediation

Now that we've explored the costs of not mediating workplace disputes, let's take a look at the benefits of mediation:

  1. Improved Communication

Mediation provides a safe space for employees to express their concerns and work towards finding a resolution. This can lead to improved communication and a better understanding of each other's perspectives.

  1. Increased Productivity

When conflicts are resolved, employees can focus on their work, leading to increased productivity and fewer missed deadlines.

  1. Better Team Dynamics

Mediation can improve team dynamics, creating a more positive and supportive working environment. This can lead to better collaboration and increased morale.

  1. Reduced Risk

By mediating conflicts, businesses can reduce the risk of legal action and reputational damage. Addressing conflicts early on can prevent them from escalating and causing more significant problems down the line.

Workplace conflicts are an inevitable part of any business. However, the costs of ignoring them can be significant. By mediating disputes, businesses can improve communication, increase productivity, and create a more positive working environment. So, the next time you're faced with a conflict between employees, don't brush it under the carpet. Instead, take the time to mediate and resolve the issue before it causes any more damage.

#workplaceconflict #mediation #employeerisks #teamdynamics
This article was first published on 23/3/23.

Article categories

About the author


Darryl is a Chartered CIPD Member, business leader and operational manager with 30 years experience in on-the-ground and strategic HR, specialising in Human Resources Management, Employment Law, Employee Relations and Learning & Development.

I have just renewed our membership for another year for HRdocbox. It's an extremely useful resource with a wide variety of documents and knowledge...
- Rachel Masing, ETM Group

I have been using the service now for around 6 months and it has been really useful in developing and updating polices and processes.
- Jamie Allan, Armstrong Craven

Excellent library of resources and templates which have made my job in my small business so much easier to manage HR for my employees...
- Emma Hunt

Great value and the site contains an extensive library of essential HR documents. I access the site probably once a week...
- Laura Alliss-Etty

HRDocBox is a great resource. It is incredibly good value, providing a large selection of HR guidance materials as well as...
- Emma Beauchamp