Conflict is a threat to any business; here’s how to avoid it

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Workplace conflict comes in all shapes and sizes. And unfortunately, it costs. You must do what it takes to avoid areas of conflict for the sake of your business and employees.

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Conflict is inevitable in business. Some issues arise from simple workplace disagreements while others stem from more complex situations, such as conflicts of interest.

A previous study concluded that 85% of employees at all levels experience conflict. That same study found that employees spend 2.8 hours each week dealing with conflicts.

Unfortunately, this is nearly three hours of wasted time you and your team could be spending on higher-value tasks that actually move your business forward. And those three work hours? They add up to thousands of dollars in pay over time.

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There are additional costs to consider beyond the loss of hard-earned cash. Conflict can also decrease employee morale, reduce productivity and harm your company’s reputation.

Within your IT department, plenty of complex areas hold potential for conflict — like commercial endorsements, vendor relationships and IT expense reimbursement.

It’s best to do what you can to prevent such unnecessary conflict for your employees and your business, and these five TechRepublic Premium resources can help you do just that. From commercial endorsement policies to IT-specific codes of conduct, these resources will help you avoid potentially costly controversy.

It’s common for companies to receive requests from third-party vendors or other businesses to promote or recommend their products or services. A commercial endorsement could be as simple as obtaining a testimonial or as complex as asking for a full product review.

While these requests may seem simple in nature, there are areas of potential conflict. For example, a product you or your staff endorsed may be found to be faulty later. Or conflicts of interest may arise you knew nothing about.

This sample commercial endorsement policy outlines the proper procedures for endorsements to help ensure that ethical guidelines are followed to best protect your team and your organization.


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IT consultants possess a high level of responsibility. Not only must they keep a company’s proprietary information under wraps, they must also remain professional in everything they do. To manage this, they must follow a certain set of rules in every interaction, known as a code of conduct.

A code of conduct outlines all of the critical standards consultants must follow when working on behalf of their company. This code outlines areas of importance, such as unacceptable behaviors and the resulting disciplinary actions.

As an IT manager, it’s your responsibility to provide this code of conduct to all your IT consultants. You can use this sample IT consultant code of conduct to create a standardized professional and ethical code for your employees, contractors and subcontractors.


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In IT, hiring independent contractors is a common practice. After all, using independent contractors can reduce overhead costs and provide IT teams with critical flexibility. However, the process of hiring and managing contractors comes with its own set of challenges.

For example, your independent contractors may accept additional contracts from other parties besides you. And sometimes, these contracts overlap with your own, creating a conflict of interest.

You have options to avoid these conflicts, such as prohibiting contractors from accepting additional projects or allowing them to accept that work but with certain restrictions. This sample conflict of interest disclosure policy communicates your rules and is customizable to fit your needs.


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Just like conflict, vendor relationships are inevitable in IT. Protecting those relationships starts with adopting an ethics policy that outlines your team’s obligations and responsibilities when working with suppliers and vendors.

The ethics policy should also outline what you expect from the vendors you partner with, including a dedication to serving your customers and providing quality products and support.

This sample ethics policy from TechRepublic Premium is a great place to start. Simply customize it to fit the specific requirements of your organization.


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Expense reimbursement can be a conflict-ridden process for you and your employees. For example, without clear expectations, employees may make purchases that are deemed ineligible for reimbursement. In other cases, employees not eligible for reimbursement may make purchases expecting to be paid back.

Having a clear IT expense reimbursement policy can help you sidestep these challenges before they occur. Your policy should define which tech-specific purchases are eligible, what process employees should follow for reimbursement and the methods used to ensure that all expenses are reported and processed in a timely manner.


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