Mediation is a straightforward process for everyone involved
If you contact me about mediating a workplace dispute for you , this is how it is likely to work:
1. Telephone call - free and with no obligation to proceed.
Usually you are a manager or HR professional and the case typically involves two employees in your organisation. We can discuss whether the workplace conflict is suitable for mediation after which you may agree to proceed, or you may want to call me with further questions before you decide how best you want to progress. If appropriate, we can meet if you are based in London, Hertfordshire or Essex. Calls and meetings at this stage are free and confidential. It is an opportunity to talk about the problem and the people involved; as well as exploring practicalities and possible outcomes. If you decide to proceed then I will go to the next stage.
2. Initial contact with the people in dispute.
At this stage you will have spoken to each of the people individually and told then that you want to try out a day of mediation using an independent mediator. If there is a formal process in place, such as a grievance or disciplinary, these are usually put on hold pending the result of the mediation. You may prefer to arrange mediation to take place in a neutral venue, or the workplace - this decision is left up to you as there are cost implications in hiring rooms. I will then ring each of the disputants, introduce myself and describe the process to them. This gives them the opportunity to ask questions and express any concerns they may have about the process of mediation. I then arrange a date and venue in consultation with you and the parties in dispute.
3. Meeting (usually just one day).
This is a private, confidential and informal day. You do not attend. I hold separate meetings with each person involved. It is usually best if they do not bring along a friend or representative. If the two parties involved do not want to meet in the same room, then I can proceed with shuttle mediation between them. I guide them through a process. Later and all being well, the parties meet in one room to negotiate the terms of any agreement they may wish to make. They may decide to let you see the content of this agreement - but sometimes, they decide they do not want to break with confidentiality and keep the details between themselves. In the latter case, all you will be informed of by me is whether the disputants reached agreement or not.
Very rarely, the mediation can take longer than one day if the issues are particularly complex or the parties are particularly intransigent.
Mediation can help you to:
- retain talent
- heal a rift
- help someone who feels they have been wrongly accused and the evidence is inconclusive
- help someone move on after grievance by helping people to repair their relationship
- prevent disputes when you see the early signs of Trouble with a capital T
- stop a split in the workforce.
Mediation is NOT suitable for :
- Addressing conflicts involving individuals in acute stages of severe mental health problems. Also, where individuals demonstrate symptoms of extreme stress or PTSD. Mediation may have limited application is cases involving: victimisation, serious discrimination and some forms of harassment.
- Mediation is not suitable as a way of providing a 'telling off' - where one party uses mediation solely to tell the other party what's wrong and how they must change.
Bearing these caveats in mind, I have nevertheless found that workplace mediation has proved beneficial in helping parties resolve issues around some mental health conditions, as well as accusations of perceived bullying.
If you'd like to resolve a workplace dispute through workplace mediation, please contact me on 07816 506 491.