Conflict Resolution Program
Introduction and Objective
The Conflict Resolution Program is a service designed to partner a Kansas State Agency with the HealthQuest Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that would enable employees the opportunity to resolve conflicts at work.
The objective of the program is to provide a mechanism to aid the participants in: identifying the issues, reducing misunderstandings, clarifying priorities, exploring areas of commonality, and assisting the participants in resolving the conflict to improve job performance and their differences at work.
The Conflict Resolution Program offers two avenues for employees to use the service. The first is confidential and voluntary. The second is a formal request from the Agency.
If the parties are mutually agreeable to resolve the workplace conflict, they are encouraged to confidentially contact the program by simply calling the HealthQuest EAP toll-free at 1-888-275-1205 (option 7). The interested parties will then be scheduled to meet with their local EAP counselor to begin the process.
Each participant will meet with the EAP Counselor individually, usually one session for each party and then two to four additional sessions of working together. The ultimate goal of the EAP counselor is to assist the participants in working toward a mutually acceptable solution(s) to resolve their workplace issue(s). After the parties have agreed upon solution(s), the EAP Counselor will schedule a face-to-face follow-up session to monitor how well the parties are doing in achieving the solution(s). The follow-up session will generally occur within thirty (30) days. If the parties are doing well, there will be no additional follow-up sessions unless mutually requested by the parties.
If during the process, the participants or the EAP Counselor discovers there are other factors involved such as personal issues or concerns that may impede the process, the process may be postponed. (Note: The EAP Counselor may recommend a need for additional assistance at anytime during the conflict resolution process.)
Request from the Agency
The formal request process to the Conflict Resolution Program looks to achieve the same end result as the voluntary process, but occasionally circumstances arise that necessitates the involvement and follow-up of the Agency. This formal request process will be conducted as follows:
- The Agency Human Resources (HR) Director (or designee) contacts the HealthQuest EAP at 1-816-753-8283 to discuss the referral with an EAP Consultant (A member of the EAP Workplace Consultation Team) and provide pertinent background information. The information would include: participants names, job duties, duration and patterns of conflict, performance problems or concerns due to the conflict, absenteeism and tardiness information, relationship issues, coworkers concerns and feedback, implications regarding patient care or customer service (if applicable), etc, and any other information relating to a specific nature of the situation(s) that has led to the referral.
- The Agency HR Director (or designee) notifies the participants involved about the referral and the expectations (a sample Referral Letter is provided). The Agency HR Director (or designee) should notify the participants that they must call the 24 hour HelpLine (1-888-275-1205, option 7) within 24 hours, preferably the same day. NOTE: The Agency policy will dictate:
- if the employees are removed from duty or may continue working.
- if the employees are on paid time off for the appointments or must use any accumulated vacation, sick leave, etc.
- adherence to Memorandum of Agreement that may apply.
- The EAP Consultant will determine the appropriate local EAP Counselor and provide detailed case information, answer questions and offer whatever assistance is needed. When the participants contact the HelpLine they will be guided to the designated EAP Counselor in their community. Appointments are usually made within two to three business days. If the employees haven’t called within 24 hours, the EAP Consultant will notify the Agency HR Director (or designee).
- The local EAP Counselor will proceed with the conflict resolution process. The EAP Counselor will contact the EAP Consultant after each session with a progress report. The EAP Consultant will update the Agency HR Director (or designee) if needed. In general, the Conflict Resolution Program will be conducted as follows:
- Each participant will meet with the EAP Counselor individually, usually one session each. The objective of this initial session is to develop an understanding of the conflict and the concerns of each participant. The EAP Counselor will also assess the level of readiness on the part of each participant. Occasionally, during this initial visit it may come to the attention of the EAP Counselor that the participant may be dealing with a personal issue or concern that would interfere with the conflict resolution process. The EAP Counselor will contact the EAP Consultant to discuss next steps. Based on the circumstances, the conflict resolution process mayneed to be postponed. (Note: The EAP Counselor may determine a need for additional assistance at anytime during the conflict resolution process.)
- After the individual sessions are concluded, the participants will meet together to begin the resolution process. This portion of the program may take two to four additional sessions.
- The EAP Counselor will update the EAP Consultant after the participants have reached a resolution (or the process has come to a conclusion) with a detailed report and final recommendations. The EAP Consultant will contact the Agency HR Director (or designee) to discuss findings, recommended course of action, and prognosis. With input and guidance from the Agency HR Director (or designee), the Action Plan and Return-to-Work documentation (as needed) will be completed. The EAP Consultant will provide a confirmation letter to the Agency HR Director.
- The Action Plan is a written document that each participant has agreed to on the specific steps that will be taken to resolve the conflict and improve their working relationship and performance at work. This document is a part of the participants clinical file. The Return-to-Work Agreement is a written document that is a recap of the Action Plan plus any specific work requirements that must be adhered to for the employees to return to work. A sample Return-to-Work Agreement is attached.
- One final visit by the participants is usually necessary to agree upon (in writing) to the finalized Action Plan.
- The EAP Counselor will provide face-to-face follow-up and monitoring for the participants per the agreed upon Action Plan. Based on the nature of the case, the monitor and follow-up phase of the Conflict Resolution Program lasts from one (1) to six (6) months. During this follow-up phase of the program, the Agency HR Director (or designee) will determine how often and what type of written or oral communications will come from the EAP Consultant.