Clash of the Coworkers

Canadian CFOs Spend Half a Day per Week Resolving Staff Conflicts

Toronto, ON – Executives are being sidetracked trying to keep the peace between employees. In a new survey from Accountemps, Canadian CFOs said they spend, on average, 10 per cent of their time -- or four hours a week -- managing staff conflicts. 


CFOs Spend 10 Per Cent of Time Resolving Staff Conflicts*

CFOs were asked, “What percentage of management time is wasted resolving staff personality conflicts?”**

Less than 5% 22%
5% to 9% 11%
10% to 14% 20%
15% to 24% 14%
25% to 49% 3%
+50% 0%
None 0%
Don’t know/no answer 30%

Sources: Accountemps survey of more than 270 Canadian CFOs.

**This is the mean response.

© 2017 Accountemps. A Robert Half Company.

“Conflicts and differences of opinion in the office are bound to happen, especially when employees are passionate about their work,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. “However, these issues shouldn’t take managers away from high-priority business concerns, or prevent them from doing their jobs effectively.”

“Proactively mitigate time spent on staff disputes by finding ways to improve rapport and cultivate a sense of camaraderie,” added Hunnam-Jones. “Encourage workers to approach colleagues’ opinions with respect, and communicate disagreements as they arise so that solutions can be found before the issue escalates, or further impedes productivity.”

Accountemps offers four ways employees can handle work conflicts with grace:

  1. Show empathy. Not everyone is going to see eye to eye. Make an effort to understand the situation from your coworker’s perspective. Listening to his or her opinion may help you to more quickly settle the dispute.
  2. Act fast. Try to promptly handle the disagreement. Conflicts can disrupt others, so don’t let issues fester. 
  3. Bring in a third party. If there is no resolution in sight, ask a manager or human resources representative to mediate. This person can offer an outside perspective and recommend a productive way forward.
  4. Don’t hold a grudge. Once you’ve come to an agreement, make sure you and your colleague put the matter to rest. Learn from the experience and discuss how you can avoid potential issues in the future.

About the Research

The survey was developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in Canada.

About Accountemps
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 325 offices worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the company’s blog, can be found at Follow us at @RobertHalf_CAN for additional workplace news and hiring trends.

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