Mediation is when a neutral third party, the mediator, assists in resolving a conflict between staff in the workplace.
Once conflict arises, it is very hard to be able to move past and work collaboratively until the reason for the conflict has been established and some mechanisms have been put in place to be able to ensure that the conflict does not continue to happen.
If you don’t deal with the situation promptly, it will only escalate further over time. Its important employees feel heard and validated with how they are feeling.
Research also shows the advantages of mediation include:
🔸Reduces stress and chances of long-term absence
🔸More likely to repair relationships
🔸Reduce staff turnover and costs
🔸Gives disputants control over outcomes
🔸Enhances workplace relationships and environment
Using an impartial third party can also increase the rates of resolution. When people feel that a process is fair, they are likely to be more satisfied with the outcome.
The process that we use for mediation is the model recommended by the Department of Justice and the Dispute Resolution Centre, which is a 10-step process.
Each mediation involves an intake meeting which is individual with the parties to establish the nature of the conflict and expectations of the participants. The process of mediation is explained to ensure the participants understand that mediation is a voluntary non-legal process where they have control over the content and any outcomes. This is usually conducted a few days before the scheduled mediation session.
During the mediation session, the mediator will ensure that each party has an opportunity to express what has bought them to mediation and what they want to achieve from the session. The parties discuss options and ideas on moving forward and future requirements. The aim is that parties come to a mutual agreement. Should the parties be able to mutually agree on an agreement to move forward, the mediator will assist in generating this agreement (verbally or written), depending on the needs and requests of the parties.
The mediator is impartial and is not there to make decisions, judgements or provide solutions, they are there to guide the participants in exploring the conflict with a view to raising awareness and perceptions of the other party to allow a mutual resolution to be achieved.
Mediation does not guarantee a resolution or a commitment for the parties to enter into an agreement, this is completely up to the parties involved and their willingness to find and agree to solutions that help the conflict moving forward. The mediation provides the framework and process for the parties to discuss their concerns, thoughts, and feelings in a safe and constructive environment.
Mediation can be a very effective tool in managing conflict in the workplace. As the mediator is an independent impartial person, it provides an opportunity for open communication for staff and encourages them to come to a mutually acceptable outcome. It can also set the tone as a proactive workplace that supports the well-being of staff and improves employee relations as well as a cost-effective way to resolve conflict and disputes.
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