How to Deal with Human Issues

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By - 30 June 2009

Ever been the subject of office gossip, caught in the middle of a workplace conflict or been forced to share an office with someone who hummed tunes all day? As many of you will know dealing with different personalities and human issues in a workplace can be very tough and tiring.


A recent study showed managers in small business of 50 employees or less spend more than 7 hours a week sorting out personality conflicts between staff. That is nearly a whole days’ work! In every workplace there are bound to be people who don’t get along, employees that have private problems and workplace conflicts that need to be sorted. So how do you deal with these?


Identifying the Issues.

In order to deal with human issues you need to be aware of what problems may crop up. Human issues can involve a number of things:


-          Human aggression

-          Hygiene issues

-          Drug and alcohol problems

-          Noise issues

-          Conflict resolution

-          Workplace harassment

-          Safety

-          Fatigue management

-          Employee assistance


Did you know 66% of office workers report physical problems as a result of job related stress or injury? And nearly 40% of employees experience so much stress over personal finances their productivity suffers.  


Develop a Strategy.

You wouldn’t walk into a boxing ring without a game plan and you need to do the same when managing a business. The best way to deal with human issues is to develop strategies to combat them.


Strategy development should involve all areas of your business and include owners, managers, general staff and their representatives. Consulting your staff on their concerns, asking for opinions and feedback is the only way to create a workplace where both you and your staff are happy.


Just think about this - 92% of managers say they're doing an "excellent" or "good" job managing employees but only 67% of workers agree. How will you know what kind of job you are doing if you don’t ask.


Making a Better Workplace.

Through strategy development you can encourage a workplace where people feel comfortable, work together and are more likely to report dangerous behaviour. A good strategy can produce the following benefits:


For your employees:

-          Increased job morale

-          Less personal illness

-          Less unexpected leave

-          More enthusiasm and willingness to work

-          Better team environment

-          More job satisfaction.


For the employer:

-          Increased awareness of employees needs

-          Reduction in losses from staff illness and leave

-          More productivity

-          Better workplace environment

-          Better returns.  


Show Your Commitment.

Creating policies to improve the workplace is all well and good, but your staff are not going to take it seriously unless you show them you are committed. Try to provide them with ongoing training in areas where they want to improve, have company goals and assessment tools to show staff how far they have come.


If you are experiencing conflict between employees don’t ignore it and hope it will go away, tackle it head on. Here are a few tips for dealing with disagreements between employees:


Take them aside, don’t let a confrontation happen in front of the entire staff.

Identify the problem

Let each individual state their perspectives

Ask each person what their ideal result would be

Try to find a realistic outcome

Or if not, try to find a compromise


Focusing on the Issues.

If you are one of many employers struggling to cope with their workload and deal with employee issues, why not hire an HR Manager to relive some of the pressure. HR Managers are generally responsible for all human issues including OHS, absenteeism, illness and employee concerns.


By having someone dedicated to monitoring what is going on in your workplace you will gain a better understanding on the areas that need to be improved and have more time for other aspects of the business. A HR Manager is fast becoming a sought after position and if you find the right one it means you can live free from the stress of workplace issues.


Confronting human issues and tackling them through strategy development and hr management will improve your workplace environment and the lives of you and your staff.

About the Author

George Butler
Raj Aryan has varied interest in the field of business. In particular, he has a keen interest in SME's and the challenges these businesses face. He has written numerous articles about small business.