During my career, I have supported colleagues and employers through a variety of conflict, dispute and grievance situations. Some fairly simple, which were quick and easy to resolve. Some fairly complex and protracted.
The most difficult area of conflict that I remember involved one complainant, six senior managers, four managers, admin staff, two members of HR, two coaches and the cost incurred by six months’ sick leave (by the complainant) and four weeks’ sick leave by one of the investigative managers and took 11 months to resolve. That’s a significant financial cost.
The cost on performance, covering for and rehiring staff and on morale and energy of all those involved in this situation and that of the previously high performing team in which the complainant worked was immense.
Although real, this is a fairly extreme (though not unusual) example. Everyone involved would have preferred to rein back the escalation and agree a resolution in a far less painful way. This was ‘not possible’ as there was ‘safety’ in a recognised, formal process. However, it is possible that resolution could have been achieved if the opportunity to air the issues in a non judgemental, no blame, informal, impartial and confidential forum had been provided.
Qualified to Professional Mediation Association standards, this field of work additionally draws on our coaching and NLP skills and experience.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a structured, informal process whereby an impartial mediator facilitates communication between those in dispute in order for them to understand each other better and for them to come up with mutually acceptable solutions that will improve the working relationship in the future.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Mediation remains an informal and confidential process, which is highly cost-effective in terms of the immediate renewal of performance and restoration of working relationships and job satisfaction of all parties.
- Mediation contributes to the morale and emotional health of any organisation that chooses to give it pride of place in their conflict resolution culture.
- Mediation contributes to a more harmonious and productive working environment.
- Mediation places responsibility for the resolution of a dispute directly with the parties.
- Mediation creates a safe place for all sides to have their say and to be heard.
- Mediation stops disputes escalating out of control.
- Mediation reduces the stress and anxiety commonly associated with conflict.
- Mediation reduces the cost of conflict and reduces the risk of litigation.
- Mediation produces rapid results.
- Mediation results in mutually satisfactory outcomes
- Mediation results in a high rate of compliance – parties who have reached their own agreement are more likely to follow through as they feel they have more control over the outcome of their dispute.
- Mediation facilitates the preservation of relationships or provides a forum which enables employees to leave well
- Mediation results in agreements that are more effective than compromise or win/lose outcomes
Issues suitable for mediation through Future Focus Thinking
Whilst all employee disputes are suitable for mediation, a significantly large percentage of complaints can be successfully dealt with by early mediation intervention. Following are the types of issues that are suitable for mediation through Future Focus Thinking:
- Conflict and disagreement between employees and within teams.
- Conflict between management and decision makers.
- Conflict arising from change and the management of change.
- Allegations of inappropriate behaviour; for instance, bullying, harassment.
- Conflicts arising from the reintegration of employees after periods of absence
- Employment disputes such as claims of unfair dismissal, discrimination, redundancy pay, terms and conditions, and flexible working.
Principles of mediation
- Solution/agreement/future focused
- Parties offer the solutions themselves
I can’t get no satisfaction – Rolling Stones