Workplace conflict can be unavoidable — but AI can help resolve it faster. Here’s how businesses can use AI in conflict resolution, from detecting potential disagreements before they happen to standing in as an unbiased mediator.


SwissCognitive Guest Blogger: Zachary Amos – “How AI Can Improve Conflict Resolution in the Workplace”


SwissCognitive_Logo_RGBArtificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as one of the latest employee relations management tools. Human resources (HR) teams and business leaders can use it to resolve conflict faster and more effectively than ever before.

The Importance of Workplace Conflict Resolution

Conflict is an unfortunate side effect of bringing people of all backgrounds together and throwing demands and deadlines in the mix. Most organizations experience it to some extent. In fact, nine in 10 professionals say they’ve worked with a “toxic” person in the past five years. This issue can diminish productivity and dampen employees’ positive moods.

Over time, workplace conflict results in noticeable productivity losses. In the United States, employees spend 2.1 hours in conflict per workweek, which amounts to 385 billion lost workdays. The involved parties, HR team and upper management all lose valuable time when focusing on resolving the dispute.

Types of AI Businesses Can Use in Conflict Resolution

AI has emerged as an effective tool for conflict resolution. Business leaders and HR professionals don’t have to stick to a standard machine learning model to ensure success — there are numerous types to choose from.

The main types of AI businesses can use for conflict resolution include:

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  • Facial recognition: AI-powered cameras can recognize and analyze faces, enabling them to monitor employees.
  • Natural language processing (NLP): An NLP algorithm can understand, interpret and mimic language. It can comprehend context and carry a conversation.
  • Generative AI: Generative AI can create original images, text or audio based on users’ prompts.
  • Chatbot: A chatbot can hold conversations with dozens of employees simultaneously. It will understand them regardless of their language or writing style.
  • Speech recognition: Speech recognition AI can turn audio into text. Some models can analyze the finished product to identify the speaker’s emotional state.
  • Personal assistant: A personal assistant AI is similar to a chatbot but can handle complex questions and commands. Its applications are much more broad.

Each type of AI has unique strengths and weaknesses, so strategic selection is essential. Decision-makers should choose the one that best meets their workplace’s needs and employees’ technical skills.

The Benefits of Addressing This Issue With AI

Most HR professionals rely on outdated conflict resolution strategies like digital tables or paper-based systems. In 2023, 66% of organizations said they’d transition from using spreadsheets and generic databases for employee relations management in 2024.

Many businesses have decided AI will be their conflict resolution tool of choice moving forward. According to a 2022 survey, 94% of business leaders agree it is essential for success. Since it’s so versatile, virtually any industry can use it for workplace-specific purposes.

Many workplaces are already using some kind of AI. Aover 30% of businesses have integrated generative models into their processes. Since they’re already familiar with the technology, implementing it for conflict resolution will be straightforward.

AI specializes in speed and accuracy — it can process tens of thousands of words in seconds. Since one of the most significant impacts of workplace conflict is lost workdays, businesses would benefit significantly from expediting their resolution process.

Another one of the biggest benefits AI has that most other conflict resolution tools don’t is adaptation. Machine learning models evolve as they process new data, making them essentially future-proof — businesses can keep using them regardless of whether they hire new employees or the source of conflict changes.

AI’s Role in Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

There are multiple ways AI can improve the typical conflict resolution process.

Predict When Conflicts Will Arise

AI can essentially predict the future if it analyzes historical and current data simultaneously. Since it recognizes trends invisible to the human eye, its forecasts are more accurate than anything an HR professional could come up with.

Businesses can use various AI tools to analyze personality traits, behavioral cues, speech patterns and written communication. This way, they can anticipate employees’ emotional states to tell when workplace conflict is about to break out and step in before anything happens.

Bridge Cultural Barriers

Since communication differences are responsible for 39% of workplace conflicts, an NLP AI would be ideal for most conflict resolution strategies. It can bridge cultural and language barriers, ensuring employees avoid miscommunications.

Provide Support to HR Teams

Chatbots, personal assistants and generative AI models can support HR teams by walking them through conflict resolution strategies, summarizing the dispute or explaining how each party wants to be treated.

Mediate Between Parties

Around four in 10 employees don’t report workplace misconduct or harassment. Of those who do, 61% go to their manager instead of to HR — which can lengthen the time resolution takes. A chatbot can eliminate this hiccup by acting as a neutral mediator.

Chatbots aren’t biased against certain employees and aren’t personally invested in workplace conflict, so they’re the ideal mediators. They can suggest resolutions, generate apologies or reflect on the situation, helping both parties engage in a constructive conversation.

Identify Sources of Conflict

While communication differences and unclear job responsibilities are typical sources of workplace conflict, every business is different. AI can help HR professionals identify hidden trends and narrow down the root of their problems.

AI’s Impact on Workplace Conflict Resolution

Businesses using AI for conflict resolution can prevent workplace disputes from happening, accelerate the mediation process and encourage employees to settle their differences on their own. As a result, they gain a happier, more productive workforce.

About the Author:

Zachary AmosZachary Amos is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he writes about artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and other technology-related topics.