TL;DR version at the end.
I am the unofficial head of a 10 person research team staffed mostly by medical professionals and I seem to have found myself in a bit of a pickle.
After a grueling 6 month interview process, I was able to hire 2 brilliant physicians to join a research project I single-handedly launched. These two people complement each other perfectly and have produced excellent results over the past year but the last month has been a mess and I am not sure if I want to fire both, one of them or mediate.
A month ago I was able to overhear their conversation during breakfast (most of the team eats breakfast in a nearby coffee house every morning). Their topic sadly drifted to one of the most touchy subjects in today's society: vaccinations.
They're both new parents and both with pretty strong opinions on the matter. They had a pretty heated argument and left. I assumed that was that till I noticed a dip in their stats and an increase in mistakes. Mistakes that most of the time means thousand of Euros worth of funding goes down the drain. Which puts me on the spot.
I was told by colleagues that are closer to them that they also clashed on Facebook and other social media and they barely talk to each other at work. The team is pro-vaccination from some inquires I made so this person who is against them is slowly losing respect from her colleagues.
I would like to mediate and try to find a solution. I pride myself to be a good mediator but never dealt with this specific minefield in the past and especially in a work setting.
So the question is how do I deal with this?
- Try to tread the minefield?
- Fire the "anti-vaccer"?
- Pass the ball to HR or administrator?
I'm also open to other options besides those three.
TL;DR: two colleagues clashing over their views on vaccination causing decline in their work and animosity between the team. As their lead, I want to try to deal with this because it's affecting me directly but how?