The Do's and Dont's of Managing Conflict in Your Franchise

29/03/2018 08:00 | Start a business

Dealing with conflict in your franchise

During the recruitment process for your franchise, you will have considered an individual’s skills, attributes and personality traits before hiring them to join your business. They may be perfect for the job that you recruited them for, but this doesn’t mean that they are going to get along with other members of staff. Unfortunately, just because you’re part of a successful franchise system, it doesn’t make you immune to having to deal with warring employees.

In fact, disputes between employees are almost inevitable. But if arguments and fall outs aren't dealt with promptly, they can have an impact on your franchise performance, weaken morale and even be the reason that some excellent employees choose to hand in their notice.

The most successful franchises have a process in place for dealing with employee conflict which is led by strong franchisees that don't shy away from confrontation. Do you have what it takes to deal with stressful situations head on? Here are some tips on conflict resolution that you can apply in your business.

Know when to get involved

Although it’s not a specific obligation in your franchise contract to mediate when employees don’t get along, it’s in your interest to tackle the issue when it first arises for the good of the business. Knowing when to get involved is sometimes difficult to gauge, but as a rule, you should step in when the problem starts to affect your employees’ work, or it disrupts other members of staff.

Even if the conflict is entirely unrelated to work or the structure of the franchise system, you may still need to get involved. Personality clashes and issues that are not connected to work can have a significant impact on the business and should not be ignored.

Listen

The first step is to listen to your disgruntled employees to gain an understanding of the problem. It’s human nature that when we’re upset about something we want to tell our side of the story. Allow both parties the chance to do this. At first, it may appear that allowing your employees to speak their minds only serves to fuel the problem, but this is an essential step towards finding a solution.

Put things into perspective.

If tension has been brewing for quite a while, something that may have started out as a relatively small issue can get blown up out of proportion. Sometimes an argument can be resolved quite quickly by merely helping employees to see the woods for the trees.

Of course, not all conflicts can be dealt with so easily, but being the voice of reason and offering a reality check may be an excellent first step to solving the problem.

Get to the root of the problem.

Once you’ve listened to both sides of the argument, you should ask yourself what the real motivating factor is. Your employees may be saying one thing, but it's quite clear that there is a more complicated underlying issue.

Disputes are bound to happen, but the even the most successful franchises can't continue to thrive is there is a deep-rooted problem that can’t be resolved. Look at the franchise system. Is there anything that is causing tension between your staff members that can easily be put right? Is there a fundamental flaw in the culture that you have created? Do you need to review your vision and values to ensure that they’re aligned with the expectations that you have of your employees?

It can be tough to turn the tables to consider if you are at fault for the problems that are arising, but it’s necessary for the success and longevity of your franchise. You may be able to make simple changes that ensure that the remaining term of your franchise contract is trouble-free.

Provide guidance

Your robust recruitment process will ensure that every member of staff has at least one thing in common. They believe in your franchise. The most successful franchises remind employees of this shared vision when things get tough.

If the underlying issue is business related, then turn negative tensions into positive brainstorming sessions. Ask all employees to become involved in resolving the situation. Guiding your team to contribute will result in a feeling of everyone working towards a common goal.

By dealing conflict in this open, honest, and collaborative way can turn disputes and differences into an opportunity for members of staff to understand each other better, as well as improve connection and trust.

Remind your employees that they are valued

Conflict between employees is to be expected - in most businesses you can't avoid it. But when it does occur be quick to make sure that your staff feel valued. Tension between colleagues can lead to some individuals feeling insecure and uncertain about the future of the franchise and the role they play in it.

This is the time when your leadership skills need to be demonstrated. As the franchisee, you're the glue that keeps the franchise together, so you need to bring everyone back together and stabilise the rocking boat. Remind all your staff that they play a vital role in your franchise and that they are appreciated and valued.

When your employees feel valued, they will feel more able to speak freely with you and raise issues or concerns that they may have. This enables you to become aware of problems as and when they are taking place, rather than having to deal with the aftermath weeks or months later. The benefits of establishing such strong relationships with staff members are fundamental to your success so always strive to achieve good connections with your team.

Use any conflict that may have arisen to your advantage. Take the opportunity to boost employee morale. After all, happy employees lead to increased productivity, decreased staff turnover, improved communication; and reduces the chance of more conflict occurring.

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