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Conflict Management in Healthcare

Workplace politics is one of the biggest healthcare HR challenges. Doctors, nurses, dentists, administrators, and other healthcare employees develop different types of working relationships with each other, so expect disagreements or conflict from time to time. 

How you deal with workplace politics could make all the difference between a happy, productive practice and an expensive lawsuit.

In this guide, learn the factors that influence healthcare practice politics, what other companies are doing to tackle the problem, and the steps you can take. 

What Factors Influence Healthcare Workplace Politics? 

Office politics are the most significant contributor to stress in the workplace, and they happen all the time. The two biggest contributing factors?

  • Competition
  • Emotional conflicts

Competition stems from someone receiving a promotion, bonus, raise, or reward that threatens someone else's job security. An emotional conflict then arises. There's usually a power struggle or a crisis of authority

"But can't we leave our emotions at home?" you ask. Sure, if we were robots. There's no such thing as a dental, optometry or other healthcare practice devoid of emotion. Humans have built entire healthcare systems on emotion — compassion, concern, and sensitivity. How could healthcare exist without emotion?

As a healthcare employer, embrace the diversity of your employees. Learn their passions, motivations, and inspirations. Is someone going through a divorce? Under financial strain? These frustrations result in a fear of competition and then an emotional conflict. Understanding your employees reduces the negative consequences of workplace politics. 

Has COVID-19 impacted your healthcare practice? Check out our valuable resources here. 

How Do Other Companies Deal With Workplace Politics?

Google doesn't do healthcare but manages workplace politics better than most companies. They understand employees are human — and "office politics" are a healthy part of workplace dynamics. 

Google offers employees services such as:

  • Flexible hours
  • Daycare
  • A free on-site gym
  • On-site medical staff
  • Free meals

All these services promote a healthy work-life balance. 

Most privately-owned healthcare practices don't have Google's budget, so can't provide these luxuries to employees. However, a healthy work-life balance is fundamental for managing workplace politics. Even with a limited budget, you can achieve the same goals as Google:

  • Dentists' practices can provide healthy snacks for employees.
  • Doctors' practices can organize social events for employees. 
  • Optometrists’ practices can provide employees with support for conflict resolution. 

Looking for ways to manage conflict in your medical practice? Schedule an HR Consultation now!

How Does Conflict Resolution Reduce Workplace Politics?

As an employer, don't get involved and settle disagreements between employees. Proceed with caution: You don't want a lawsuit for not handling a situation appropriately. 

When is it OK to get involved? When disagreements disrupt the workplace or create toxic work environments. Have policies/procedures for dealing with inappropriate behavior, such as disciplinary action.

When is it not OK to get involved? Probably most of the time. It's better to let people work out issues on their own. Take a step back. Observe the situation. Intervene, if necessary. Don't police everyday discussions between employees. 

Tip: Never ignore allegations of harassment/discrimination. Investigate these complaints or leave your business vulnerable to a lawsuit.

Final Word

Politics in the workplace is natural. Aside from allegations of discrimination/harassment, let employees sort out their issues. Otherwise, workers could accuse you of micromanagement.

If you are a current HR for Health client and have additional questions, please reach out to our team by calling 877-779-4747. Please keep in mind that due to an influx in questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak, our response time may be slower than usual, but we will get back to you as soon as we can! 

If you are not a current HR for Health client and have additional questions, please schedule an HR consultation with us by booking time here or calling us at 877-779-4747, option 1. 

Does your healthcare practice need help with conflict resolution? Or allegations of discrimination?  Talk with the experts at HR for Health. Contact us by phone at 877-779-4747 or by emailing compliance@hrforhealth.com today.

HR for Health is one of the nation’s leading Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS) used by small to mid-sized practices. 


Quick note: This should not be taken as legal or HR advice. Since employment laws change over time and can vary by location and industry, consult a lawyer or HR expert for specific guidance. Learn about HR for Health's HR services