JPMorgan Chase faced a sharp rise in problem cases forwarded from branch managers to its centralized employee relations group. The human resources department probed further and found that branch managers were spending close to 40% of their time dealing with interpersonal conflict on their teams—a huge hit to productivity that was a threat to the company’s rapid growth and an increasing cost to the business.
HR needed to find a solution to prevent and manage conflict more effectively at local branches in order to reduce the time spent on conflict and the number of referred cases.
JP Morgan Chase launched a Core Strengths training program with extra emphasis on conflict management as a way to directly address the increase in conflict by equipping managers with mediation skills as well as greater relationship intelligence. The course spanned 2 days and provided greater understanding of motives during conflict, how overdoing strengths can create friction in the workplace, and learning techniques to both recognize and resolve conflict productively and efficiently. The course used role-playing and feedback exercises to reinforce and hone practical skills to resolve conflict and empower others to solve problems.
By learning a common language to identify changing motives in conflict and the effects of overdone strengths, branch managers were able to apply it immediately in the workshop to a real-life situation that they could then continue to solve when they returned to their offices.
The impact of the training was clear in the speed and strength of results HR saw within weeks of the training. The course yielded a 67% increase in conflict management skills, which drove the needed reduction in cases referred by branch managers. In looking at profitability per manager, the program generated a 59% ROI. Further, 90 days after the course, 70% of participants were still applying the skills learned during the 2-day session.
In addition to the ROI generated from fewer cases being referred to employee relations, the bank also saw a higher employee retention rate in branches where the managers had been trained and were applying relationship intelligence.