There can be no doubt that we live in tumultuous times. The cost-of-living crisis, widespread industrial discontent, and ongoing public health scares can all conspire to upset the bonds of community and create the conditions necessary for conflict to erupt and escalate.
As we move into 2023, business leaders must be aware of the factors at play that increase the likelihood of conflict occurring, and how they can mitigate the impact within their workforce and beyond.
Keep reading as we discuss the current factors increasing the risk of conflict and ways to effectively mitigate them.
The threat of conflict in 2023: What business leaders need to know
The threat of conflict in the communities in which we live, work, and do business is both multifaceted and ever-present. However, in 2023 when many are cold, hungry, disillusioned, and under considerable personal, social, and economic stress, business leaders must be extra vigilant.
Factors increasing the threat of conflict in 2023:
- Volatile political landscape & disillusionment
- Cost of living crisis
- Strike action across multiple industries
- Climate & energy concerns
- Ongoing public health crises
- A recession predicted in 2023
- Ongoing conflict in Ukraine
These socio-economic and -political factors cause rifts in communities and heighten the likelihood of conflict, varying from interpersonal workplace disagreements to even more serious threats like hate crime, violence, and terrorism.
The UK’s nationwide threat level is currently ‘substantial’, meaning an attack is ‘likely’, and the Counter Terrorism Police run an awareness campaign each year, encouraging the public to remain vigilant, keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour, and report any concerns.
Throughout the UK we’ve seen multiple attempts to unite local communities in keeping those vulnerable to conflict safe as part of the national Winter Vigilance Campaign:
- London Mayor Sadiq Khan pledged £2m to combat hate crime
- Counter Terrorism officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) sent a message of vigilance to festive shoppers
- Counter Terrorism Policing North East urged citizens to “stay alert and trust your instincts”, reminding them that attacks can happen anywhere and without warning
Employers have a duty of care to ensure that their teams are empowered to identify risks to their safety or hostile behaviours both at work and in the wider community. This can apply not only to broader communities but to specific job roles where individuals are disproportionately likely to encounter conflict or violence such as:
- NHS workers
- Gas engineers
- Rail staff
- Retail workers and security staff
- MPs across the political spectrum
What can business leaders do to mitigate the risk of conflict?
A robust risk management strategy is essential to preventing and mitigating the risk of conflict, and it must, by necessity, incorporate conflict management and behaviour profiling.
What is conflict management and why is it so important?
Conflict management training equips the workforce with the necessary skills to identify the tell-tale signs of escalating behaviour that could lead to conflict or even violence. It also empowers them with the confidence they need to positively influence situations, diffuse tensions, alleviate aggression and prevent harmful outcomes.
Conflict management is important for not only business leaders but every member of an organisation to mitigate the risks associated with conflict, including preventing death and injury.
Behaviour detection: The key to conflict resolution
Along with conflict management, behaviour detection techniques can help individuals to proactively identify potential safety threats inside and outside the workplace.
Behaviour profiling training can help leaders and decision-makers within an organisation to resolve conflicts successfully before they escalate. However, it also has other benefits such as improved team alignment and cohesion, more effective leadership, and more agile decision-making.
How we can help
In an age where risks are ever-present and constantly changing, these disciplines empower organisations to pre-empt and counter conflict within their organisations and their wider communities.
For more information about how we can help your business protect your workforce and effectively fulfil your duty of care, contact us today.