Refusing to work with colleagues

‘Friends are the family you choose’ but what about our colleagues? We usually have very little influence over who we work with. Many times, we easily tolerate who we work with even if we may not necessarily get on well with them.

But, as we well know, there are times when a relationship breaks down. As employers, we are faced with the challenge to resolve the situation whereby employees are refusing to work together.

There can be several reasons why employees refuse to work together; be it personality or social clashes or simply a misunderstanding which escalates into something bigger than it actually is.

As an employer, it is our duty to try minimise the impact of the clash between two (or more) employees. We need to aim at stopping a minor issue become a more complex and tangled situation. Speaking and interviewing parties involved, separately, is the first step. Persuasion plays an important part in situations like these. It is our responsibility to try and persuade them to patch up their differences before having to opt for other measures.

It is important that we do not break down ourselves under employee pressure.

There may be cases whereby the breakdown is irreversible, and employees have to understand that the breakdown may be causing disruption to the business. There are situations where the employer has no option but to resort to measures of discipline such as issuing a warning to the employee/s. This must also be given once the situation has been investigated. It should only be given once all of the employer’s attempts, to try resolve or calm the situation, have turned out unsuccessful. Naturally, disciplinary action may only be given if the reasons for the breakdown are well founded.

About the author

Maria Bartolo Zahra is Managing Director and HR Advisor at SurgeAdvisory. She has over fifteen years of human resources and business advisory experience.