Workplace disputes; working with challenging personalities.
Supporting HR, employers and employees
Mediation is an excellent tool for addressing workplace difficulties and preserving working relationships. It can be undertaken at any point of the difficulty from the early stage when trouble is brewing, through to the later stages when a grievance may have been raised by one of the parties.
We spend a large part of our waking lives at work and employees that are experiencing personality clashes will be stressed, depressed and unmotivated. Unmanaged disputes are psychologically and financially costly to the organisation.
Workplace mediation format:
The mediator will hold conversations with the referrer to understand the current difficulty and explore what the organisation would like to achieve from mediation. S/he will then hold private meetings with each party to discover the underpinning of the difficulty, and will ‘reality check’ to see how (or whether) matters can be moved on. S/he usually goes on to bring them together in a joint meeting; encouraging them to describe the dispute from their own standpoint; facilitating a dialogue and effecting better listening and communication between them.
If an agreement can be reached for a better working relationship, the mediator can draft a Memorandum of Understanding with the help of the parties who can sign up to it if they agree. S/he may meet the parties at some future date to ascertain that things are still on an even footing.
Tribunals are long and costly affairs. They have to be meticulously prepared for which can involve the HR department in many interviews, much fact-finding and drafting long reports. Tribunals take their toll on both employer and employee. After a tribunal hearing it is unlikely that parties will be able to work together again.
Mediation is entirely confidential and ‘without prejudice’, parties sign a Mediation Agreement in advance of the process, and discussions and material disclosed in mediation during the process cannot be disclosed to a court.
The benefits of workplace mediation:
- Mediation is confidential, it preserves the reputation of the organisation
- The confidentiality and privacy means that the parties feel safe enough to engage with the mediator
- Grievances are costly, involving HR and the firm’s time in fact-finding and expensive legal fees.
- Tribunals are expensive and may run over many weeks; mediation costs a fraction of the price.
- People in mediation have time to tell their story and be ‘heard’
- Mediation is a ‘cathartic’ process and can help people to move on.
- The mediator is non-judgmental and non-evaluative
- Mediation can support the parties to reach an agreement that is ‘good enough’ to live with.
- Mediation preserves the self-esteem and dignity of the parties.
- Statistically over 85% of Workplace cases settle via Mediation.