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Conflict resolution strategies for social service workplaces

Due to the nature of social work, employees in the field are constantly surrounded by conflict.

From defusing client familial problems to monitoring discussions in community groups, conflict comes in many shapes, forms and degrees of severity. Within the workplace, conflict is far from unusual, and in the social work industry this is no different.

Office problems usually arise due to differences in professional values, culture, race, gender, personal values and job competition, according to The New Social Worker. Since shelters and social service offices are high-stress areas and usually employ a diverse group of staff members, it is practically inevitable that conflict will occur. Despite the prevalence of workplace issues, it is essential to try to  mitigate, prevent or address conflict head on. Here are two strategies that can accomplish this goal:

1. Establish an office code of conduct
As a preemptive measure to minimize the occurrence of conflict, create and release an office code of conduct. Whether a handbook or a short list of expectations, this guideline will serve as a reminder for everyone in your workplace regarding what is and isn't acceptable behavior

2. Build a culture of communication
When stressful, tense situations arise, you will want your employees to use their words effectively to solve these problems. Some of the worst conflicts involve people not choosing their words carefully enough or refraining from addressing an issue altogether. Encourage your workers to be clear and concise when communicating their concerns.

At ProSolutions Training, we offer online social services training courses, on topics including conflict resolution, for interested professionals like yourself. Contact one of our dedicated representatives today to learn more!