Peace in the workplace. It’s not corporate yoga and mindfulness programs, although those are worthy programs that enhance wellness and employee morale. Peace in the workplace is a strategic approach to conducting business that cultivates human security, dignity, and a working environment that is free of fear. In other words, it is ensuring the individual contributors to the business experience safety and dignity in the workplace and are offered a working environment that cultivates personal and professional potential.

What causes individuals in the workplace to experience a lack of security and dignity? Organizational cultures that tolerate, or even encourage, destructive conflict management and dispute resolution methods such as bullying, stonewalling, and the building of alliances that pit one group or team of individuals against another. Unfortunately, this type of corporate culture is far too common.

Poorly Managed Conflict Is Costly

While poorly managed conflict can lead to a loss of customers as well as good employees, perhaps the most obvious cost is the loss of productivity. According to research conducted by CPP, Inc., on average, each individual within an organization spends 2.1 hours per week — approximately one full day a month — engaging in conflict. In the U.S., this translates to 385 million working days annually. CPP’s research found that one in ten survey respondents indicated they spend six hours or more per week dealing with conflict. Not only is this a drain on the individual’s time, productivity, and morale, it is also a major strain on the human resource department.

Most people, including leadership and senior executives, lack the skills to manage conflict in a manner that optimizes the organizational benefits of conflict. Instead, conflict is prolonged, exacerbated, and can become protracted. CPP’s research found that nine out of ten employees have experienced workplace conflict that has escalated unnecessarily. As much as one in three survey respondents claim that a recent workplace conflict took a few days to resolve, but as many as one in six reported they have witnessed protracted conflicts that  remained unresolved and increased in intensity.

The Business Value of Peace-building Training in the Workplace

Peace-building training is essential to empowering all individuals within the organization — leadership, managers, front line employees, etc. — with the skills necessary to be peacemakers. This means not just offering conflict management training, which is a reactive approach to peace-building, but also training that empowers individuals to be proactive. Cultivating a culture of peace goes beyond resolving disputes; it is founded in a commitment to building a workplace where people can thrive both personally and professionally.

According to the Association for Talent Development, companies that provide comprehensive training programs have 218 percent higher income per employee than companies without formalized training and enjoy a 24 percent higher profit margin than companies without a comprehensive training program. Peace-building training increases each person’s capacity for managing conflict, increasing emotional intelligence, and developing shared processes and language for navigating disputes and building high-performing teams — all of which enriches the organizational culture and overall performance of the individual contributors and the business.

Peace in the workplace matters. Peace is an essential criteria for cultivating the highest potential from the individuals and teams within the organization and fostering a high-performing workforce that innovates with enthusiasm.

Learn more about how you can illuminate paths to peace in your organization at www.RobynShort.com.

An international speaker, peace-building trainer and mediator with expertise in restorative justice and transformative mediation models, Robyn Short works with individuals, corporations, and nonprofit organizations in discovering the root causes of their conflicts, so they may transform their relationships and create new and productive paths forward individually and as teams. In addition to her mediation and conflict training practice, Robyn is an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University in the Master of Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution program, the Master of Leadership and Negotiation at Bay Path University, and El Centro Conflict Management program. She has guest lectured at Pepperdine University and Creighton University. Robyn has authored three books on peace building and currently serves on Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s advisory board for the Women of the World for World Peace conference and on the board of Peacemakers, Inc.