Workplace mediation is generally used as soon as a dispute arises and the level of conflict is manageable. Relationships have greater chances of breaking down the longer a disagreement goes on. Matters may even need costly court intervention to get settled. Relationships can be restored after formal dispute procedures are taken.
Mediation can help settle disagreements among team members, or between colleagues at varying levels of seniority. It is particularly beneficial for people who lost the ability to sit down and discuss their issues.
What is a workplace mediation?
Conflict can be healthy when workers discuss and learn from one another’spoint of view. Conflict of the damaging kind can bring down morale, reduce work efficiency, raise production costs, and lead to court intervention if disregarded.
There are a number of ways that conflict in the workplace can be resolved successfully. One of them is mediation.
Mediation is a conflict management method that uses an impartial third person to help disputing parties work out their disagreements. This process aims to reduce workplace tension before it develops into a destructive form of conflict. The flexible and unpretentious approach it offers sets it apart from grievance and corrective procedures.
Workplace mediation is a voluntarily dialog participated in by the conflicting parties and facilitated by a non-partisan third party called a mediator. Everything that occurs in a mediation session is confidential, unless the parties are willing to share the actions and decisions made.
Participants in a workplace mediation aim to settle the dispute themselves by making an intelligent decision that is acceptable to everyone. Parties will not be required to come up with a resolution and the mediator can not force a result. Even if the dispute isn’t resolved through mediation, the participants come out of it with a clear understanding what caused the conflict, plus a better awareness of each other’s positions and concerns.
Issues that can benefit from workplace mediation include:
- conflicts among or involving work personnel
- complaints and grievances by employees
- complaints about bullying and sexual harassment. In some cases, incidents of bullying and sexual harassment need to be carefully assessed before they can be settled by mediation. There must be real consensus between the parties to take part in the mediation process.
When is it right to use mediation to resolve a workplace conflict?
Mediation is just one of several dispute resolution approaches when managing workplace conflict or complaints. It can be employed at any pointduring a dispute provided that the parties involved agree to it. Any formal procedures in progress must be put on hold.
Mediation works best when used at the onset of a conflict before relationships break down or legal action is taken. Here are some of the necessary pre-requisites for the mediation process to be appropriate:
- the conflict level is moderate and still manageable
- the issues are clearly identified and have the possibility to be resolved
- all parties are willing to participate
- there should be no substantial difference in the bargaining power between the parties
- the parties are able to represent their positions and express themselves freely
- parties must accept that the mediation is a private procedure and confidentiality must be maintained
- all parties must think and work for the resolution of the dispute
- The company must provide assistance to the parties as the mediation process progresses and be willing to advance the solutions reached.
In appropriate conditions, mediation can be a powerful and beneficial tool that can enable participants to press forward with improved workplace relationships.
Do you need an attorney to mediate workplace conflict?
Settling a workplace dispute out of court through mediation is a sensible alternative to expensive and time-consuming litigation. Consulting a workplace mediation attorney will help you figure out the laws governing your issue and assess the merits of your claim.
Kanter Ostler Mediation resolves workplace disputes successfully by helping you hurdle any stage of dispute objectively and cost-efficiently. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us at (619) 304-2244 to discuss your case with our experienced workplace mediation experts.