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No business is immune to conflict. When disagreements and differences break out in a workplace the impact can ripple through the workforce causing negativity and can prove costly if not acted upon quickly and professionally.
Mediation is a voluntary process involving an impartial third party with the aim of resolving conflict quickly before it causes lasting damage to an organisation through the deterioration of workplace relationships. It is a less stressful alternative action to formal dispute resolutions such as grievances, disciplinaries and employment tribunals.
Using mediation as a preventative measure to resolve a disagreement before any official complaint or charge is made is by far the best action to take.
Damage caused by conflict
Brushing workplace disharmony under the carpet is not an option. Turning a blind eye or believing that the disagreement will disappear will only allow the conflict to fester and grow. If left, conflict will not only cost a business time and money but potentially cost it its reputation.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the costs that can be incurred as a result of conflict in the workplace:
The longer colleagues remain in conflict the harder it is to find a solution to help them resolve their issues. Time really is key when conflict arises.
Using a neutral mediator
As mediation is voluntary, the parties have expressed a wish for the matter to be resolved. And because mediation is facilitated by a third party the discussions are impartial and honest.
Some businesses try to solve workplace disagreements in-house which can prove challenging as:
Our trained and experienced workplace mediator here at P3 People Management can facilitate a dispute resolution with little disruption. As there will be no conflict of interest they are able to build trust and rapport with the parties involved and will guide them to identify a win-win solution that they both agree upon. They do this by:
All conversations between employees and the third-party mediator will remain confidential, unless the individuals concerned are happy for details to be shared, an unlawful act has taken place, or someone’s health and safety is at risk. The role of the mediator is to report to HR or the manager that the matter has been resolved and that steps have been put in place to implement a successful resolve.
The mediation process
Even though this approach to solving conflict is less formal than official grievances and disciplinaries it takes on a very structured approach.
The mediator will speak with all employees concerned separately to listen to their side of the story and understand how they want the matter to be resolved. Only with the agreement of all parties will a joint meeting take place, however, the mediator will make it clear that this is a necessary step towards re-establishing a workable relationship.
During the joint meetings the mediator will lead the discussions and allow all parties time to speak with no interruption. The aim is to work towards a solution by stating the nature of the conflict, gathering all relevant information, identifying the differences, bargaining and agreeing on a solution. When all parties mutually agree on a solution, the mediator will produce a written statement clearly outlining everyone’s responsibilities.
We’re here to help
If you believe your organisation would benefit from using the services of our workplace mediator, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 941 2426. Or if you would like us to train key members of staff in conflict management, we would be more than happy to provide you with the processes, policies, tools and skills necessary.
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