workplace mediation

Conflict in the workplace comes in many various different shapes and sizes. Companies need to be acutely aware of the complexities, and costs involved when there is conflict in the workplace. Everyone can recognize a fight or row between colleagues, but often conflict between two or more parties can be very subtle and can simmer away in the background feeding resentment and costing an organization a small fortune which is often not easy to recognize or measure. It is often advisable when productivity or sales are down, or targets are not meet, to check out how people are feeling and if there is some un-resolved issue brewing.  Bullying and favouratism are very common in the workplace as is harassment both sexual and otherwise.  Indentifying whether the offence is intended or merely a lack of awareness or a need for education can play a large part in dealing with some of these issues and can often be dealt with in the pre-mediation session. However if a person feels that that they are being bullied, harassed or targeted in any way, this needs to dealt with in a professional manner, and often having someone from outside the organization is of enormous benefit to all. Remember, mediation is confidential and can be very useful in building trust with each party. It is the mediator’s job to manage the process, and have the needs of each party included in the process.

It is normal practice in a workplace dispute to have a pre-mediation session, privately with each party. This can normal take 1-2 hours depending on each case. It is useful for all parties to meet with the mediator to build trust, have the opportunity to tell their story, to ask questions and in general get a feel for the whole process. Following on from that it is normal but not always possible for the parties to come together with the mediator to air their grievances, establish communications, developed options and in many cases come away with a working agreement that is acceptable to all. The mediator usually checks in with all parties over the following weeks to verify that there are no outstanding issues and that the agreement is holding up.

Some of the advantages of using Mediation,

  • It empowers all parties.
  • It facilitates making their own decision, result and agreement.
  • It is quick to put in place.
  • It is cost-effective.
  • It can make for a better working environment.
  • It is educational in the process
  • It allows the parties the opportunity to be in the other shoes.

Here are some types of issues that present themselves for workplace mediation:

  • Bullying; harassment; sexual harassment 
  • Changes in job description
  • Dismissal 
  • Disability
  • Discrimination
  • Personality clashes.
  • Redundancy packages
  • General grievances.
  • Stress

 

Always remember that in meditation it is the parties that ultimately make the final decision. It is a confidential and voluntary process; you are free to leave at any stage.

Why should you use Mediation

  • Parties decide the terms of the settlement
  • Mediation is less expensive
  • Mediation fosters a problem-solving approach to disputes
  • Mediation encourages working together.
  • It will enhance the communication skills of all parties.
  • Parties are encouraged to take ownership of their issues
  • More flexible than other options.
  • Quick to put in place