Workplace Mediation

Workplace Mediation: Resolving Disputes at Work

Workplace mediation is an effective and practical way to make room for your employees to resolve any workplace conflict and facilitate the rebuilding of relationships. When negative conflicts such as gossiping, harassment, discrimination and bullying are ignored, it can damage office morale, reduce team productivity and could, in extreme cases, lead to increased costs and legal issues.

However, if you have a sense of healthy conflict, as conflict exists in all workplaces, we can work with different people, learn from different perspectives, disagree with respect and closely collaborate to have a healthy workplace. This is where workplace mediation shines, as it helps with building the health of your workplace. 

Workplace Mediation and Team building

conflict mediation

Goals of Workplace Mediation

To have an idea of what goals you want to achieve when implementing workplace mediation, you need to first understand what it means. Workplace mediation is a confidential process where a neutral third party (mediator) facilitates a constructive conversation between two or more people with issues in dispute. This assists in helping them develop mutually beneficial agreements to improve their ongoing working relationship. Additionally, workplace mediation has a process that is structured and voluntary whilst also being creative, and fast and works on coming to a resolution that is helpful to both parties.

It is also important to understand the role of a workplace mediator as they need to remain a neutral third party to the situation and people involved. The mediator’s role is to assist in providing a process to:

  • Identify the issues that may be present
  • Develop helpful options for the team to move forward in a healthy manner
  • To reach an agreement that satisfies the needs of the people involved in the dispute, to the extent of a win-win
  • Ensure that everyone involved can express their needs within the situation, feel heard and that their perspective of the issues has been seen.

Workplace Conflict Mediation

The overall goal of workplace mediation is to empower people to take responsibility for the conflict and its eventual resolution. Workplace mediations can have different focuses depending on the situation. It can look like focusing on improving the relationship between the people involved or it can target the key issue and work on an amicable separation.

Additionally, workplace mediations are aimed at improving the relationships focus on how the issues are discussed, the individual’s decision-making process and their communication style. Viewing the issue from a broader perspective is also central to workplace mediation as it helps people empathise with how the situation is making the other person feel.

Mediation itself acts as a first step in modelling new problem-solving behaviours as it marks the beginning of effective working relationships.

Workplace mediation is a relevant process for workplace conflict resolution as it covers a large variety of workplace disputes and issues such as:

  • Working and communication style differences
  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Changing work practices
  • Leadership style differences
  • Grievance management
  • Return to work
  • Role/job demarcation
  • Bullying, discrimination & harassment allegations
  • Employment termination conditions
  • Employment terms and conditions

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Team Mediation

Key Features of Workplace Mediation:

Understanding some of the key features of Workplace Mediation is important so that you can know what is likely to happen when working with a workplace mediator. Key Features include:

  • Each participant meeting separately with the mediator for a preliminary meeting to discuss their perspective and to prepare for a joint mediation meeting
  • The mediation session is confidential
  • Meetings can be arranged in a way that is most convenient to the participants.
  • The option to withdraw at any time is an option as participation is voluntary
  • The mediation session is structured to encourage communication that is clear and constructive to be able to solve any main issues and assist participants in a way to generate a mutually acceptable agreement for the way forward.
  • There will also be documentation of the agreement between the participants.

If these benefits sound like what you need in your workplace, At Work OH&S may be able to help.

Benefits of Workplace Mediation:

There are many benefits of workplace mediation. These benefits can help with office morale, building office relationships and facilitating the health of the workplace.

Benefits include:

  • Sessions are private and confidential
  • Saves time, money and relationships
  • The costs are severely reduced as it decreases chance of court, tribunal and investigation process costings
  • Participants can control the outcome
  • Heals and rebuilds relationships along with trust between the team
  • Gets people back to work
  • Mediation makes a space for each person to share their opinion on issues, hear out other people’s opinions and outline a preferred outcome
  • Increases motivation, productivity, performance, well-being and overall work satisfaction
  • Leads to team and skill building.

If these benefits sound like what you need in your workplace, contact us today!

Mediation Benefits

Overall, workplace mediation is a voluntary and confidential discussion with the relevant parties about issues in dispute, managed by an independent mediator. Effective workplace mediation will lead employees away from hostility and rather encourage them to engage in rational dialogue to work towards a solution.

For more information on Workplace Mediation, contact us today!

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