Mediation can offer a proactive approach to managing and resolving people issues in the workplace.
We facilitate effective dispute resolution.
Workplace conflict is inevitable in most organisations, and how it is managed will directly influence the outcome – either facilitating resolution in a positive working environment or escalating into wider issues, such as a resignation and a potential tribunal claim.
Where a conflict is disrupting the workplace environment and negatively impacting morale, performance and relationships, mediation may be able to offer an informal and constructive approach to resolution.
Mediation is voluntary and confidential. It can help in a wide range of workplace scenarios and circumstances where management or HR efforts have either failed or are not appropriate to resolve the issue, such as ongoing issues between a line manager and team member, or where an employee’s comments have caused offence.
Mediation for employers
Mediation remains a voluntary process but for employers, there are many reasons why it merits serious consideration as a way to settle a dispute within the workplace.
Key considerations for workplace mediations:
- ACAS code – While mediation is not a compulsory requirement on employers, organisations should be aware that if an employer unreasonably refuses to instigate a mediation when one is requested, a tribunal can penalise by increasing any award against them by 25%.
- Objectivity – An independent mediator brings none of the politics, history or dynamics of the organisation, offering a wholly objective and neutral stance, which can be appealing to employees particularly where the complaint is against a senior member of staff.
- Internal reluctance – There may be some initial reluctance from management to participate in a mediation, through concern that commissioning an external mediator reflects badly on their management skills or style. But the risks of failing to resolve conflict creates an organisational imperative for resolution and for all options to be considered thoroughly over any individual or personal concerns.
- Informal – The mediation should provide an informal and safe environment to discuss the conflict and seek resolutions, unlike more formal and protracted options such as a grievance.
- Confidentiality – A key benefit of the mediation process for employees in conflict is often that the details of the discussion and the issues raised are treated in confidence and will not be disclosed to HR, management or anyone else within the organisation.
- Practical focus – Mediation should be focused on a practical solution. The output could take the form of a written agreement or action plan looking for example at future behaviours and other solutions that address the sources of conflict and improve the working relationship. The outcome of the mediation will not be legally binding unless a specific legal agreement is drawn up and signed by both parties.
We can help
DavidsonMorris provides a professional, independent mediation service, aimed at facilitating resolutions that work for the individuals concerned and the organisation.
We help employers and HR teams across the private, public and voluntary sectors optimise working relationships, to promote positive working and wellbeing while reducing the risk of legal complaints.
We are experienced in helping to overcome disputes by bringing together employees and facilitating an in-depth, constructive and confidential conversation in a safe environment.
As an independent party, we are entirely objective and without knowledge of internal politics, ensuring neutrality and confidentiality of discussions.
Our mediation service will:
- Assess whether the conflict is suitable for mediation
- Communicate the terms of the mediation to all parties in advance
- Give each party opportunity to speak and to respond, without interruption
- Ensure focus of mediation sessions is listening
- Facilitate discussion through questioning
- Invite ideas from all parties
- Summarise all points
- Document a written agreement or action plan resulting from the discussion
For conflicts where mediation won’t be appropriate or effective, we can make recommendations for next steps and alternative options.