Conflict in the workplace can arise in many ways. It can be between:
- employer and employee
- employees such as across or between teams or departments or line managers
- board directors
It may be mediated before or after commencement of any formal management procedures such as grievance or disciplinary procedures or litigation.
Most referrals for mediation are made by a HR or line manager. They are not involved in the process beyond the referral unless they are involved in the conflict.
Workplace mediations usually begin with the mediator seeing each party separately and for the parties then to meet together with the mediator to have a facilitated discussion.
The aim is for the parties to agree a way forward to work together. This may be quite pragmatic such as methods of communication, appraisals, training, frequency of meetings and reports, or sharing workloads. This is usually recorded in writing by the mediator at the end of the session and signed by the parties.
The mediation is confidential to the parties. Only the outcome (i.e. whether a settlement was reached or not) is disclosed to the referrer, unless the parties agree otherwise.
Workplace mediation is an effective tool and can bring many benefits to businesses. These include creating a more effective and pleasant work environment, reduced mental and physical ill health and consequent absenteeism and avoiding the time and cost of litigation and formal management procedures.
I have worked on a wide range of workplace conflicts including those arising in schools, local councils, doctors’ surgeries and complimentary health practices, insurance brokers, the creative industry and solicitors’ firms.