Companies spend billions of dollars each year creating strategic business plans that serve as a blueprint for growth. Your team is in charge of managing the most critical asset that will execute that plan: your human capital.
You hire the best talent and strive to create a diverse, high-performing culture. Yet like most companies, your employee productivity is tapped out at 40% – and productivity matters. In some business models, a 10% increase in productivity can yield a 100% increase in profit. HR’s strategic contribution to the plan then becomes, “how can you energize your organization and set in motion higher productivity – and profits?”
In most companies, human capital execution focuses on aligning resources to achieve goals. The best strategists, however, know that exponential value is found in simultaneously identifying and eliminating potential risks. And today, there is a significant risk to the efficiency of your human capital that has virtually gone undetected, until now.
“Manufactured conflict” is having a profound negative impact on companies today. This type of conflict presents itself as a “he said, she said” or “personality conflict”, but that is far from reality. It is a strategy used by over-competitive individuals with the goal of leveraging conflict for personal gain, mostly by expanding their power (i.e., acquiring another department or promotion which increases their wealth, power and favor).
The initiators are typically male, occupy higher-level positions, and may be perceived as a high performers because they are masterful at power tactics (i.e., taking credit for all positive work while deflecting blame for misfires). They employ gravitas and build relationships with more senior leaders to insure a hedge of protection. Their motivation? To eliminate their perceived “competition”. The cost of allowing such behavior is devastating your people, productivity – and profit.
Teams and departments aligned with – and peripheral to – the initiator produce up to 80% less, deliver 30% less in revenue, and have -2x profit and double the turnover – mostly of your true high performers. With 70% of employees today relying on their direct managers for motivation, one bad apple can definitely spoil the bunch, not to mention the effects on culture, loss of brand equity, reputational risk, increased mental and health insurance costs, and high turnover.
One hundred percent of the time the initiator’s targets are your true high performers who drive up to 4x the profit of these individuals. Seventy percent of the time it is women. And people of color are targeted at a higher rate than whites. So if you are a woman, who is a true high performer, you are virtually guaranteed to be targeted by these individuals.
It could explain why upward of 50% of today’s women leaders are considering leaving their current jobs. By manufacturing conflict, these individuals are sidelining otherwise promising careers, mitigating their positive impact on your organization and firing them based upon a false narrative. And worse yet, 70% of the women who report the behavior to HR are retaliated against.
Folded under the umbrella of “workplace bullying”, it is capturing the attention of politicians throughout the U.S. who recognize that behavior matters in our workplaces. Thirty-one states have introduced into law the Healthy Workplace Bill – HWB Legislation. Puerto Rico has already signed into law something similar and two states – CA and Utah – have required training only mandates for employers.
With more than 50% of remote workers today reportedly bullied in the workplace, almost 50% more women than men graduating college and entering the workforce, and a focus on diversity, it is expected to gain momentum next year. Our goal is to help create awareness of these manufactured behaviors that will put you and your company at risk and restrict your ability to outperform as an organization.
In part two, we will help you spot manufactured conflict, provide ideas to resolve it, how the scenario could be affected by the new law and why it’s important for HR to take proactive measures before it becomes too costly and large of a risk for your organization.