What is workplace mediation and what are the benefits?

Shan Veillard-Thomas from The Legal Partners outlines what workplace mediation is and and how it can solve conflict at work.



Have any of these happened in your workplace?

  • a tense and difficult atmosphere at work?
  • disagreements, arguments, personality clashes
  • communication breakdowns
  • relationship breakdown within a team
  • minor bullying and harassment
  • cultural misunderstandings due to different ethnicities working in the same workplace

Very quickly issues at work can escalate and lead to grievances.

Mediation is a great way of avoiding these getting out of control by getting employees and employers to address the issues early on, in a more relaxed and positive manner. It allows both sides to talk and to be heard and understood, even if opinions still differ.

Mediation has become increasingly popular amongst UK companies who use it as an effective way of resolving disputes in the workplace. Mediation can provide solutions which meet the needs of all parties; it is cost effective, fast (90% are resolved within one day), can be set up quickly, avoids disruption, removes the debilitating effects of unresolved conflict and can pave the way for restored workplace relationships.

Any member of staff can ask their line manager or HR to discuss this with them. Unions can also assist. Both parties must voluntary agree to go to mediation and understand that it is without prejudice, meaning that nothing said can be used afterwards in any disciplinary way. Everything said in the mediation remains confidential which greatly helps in parties being open. The parties can merely tell HR that the mediation has taken place.

What is Workplace Mediation?

So, what is Workplace Mediation and how can it solve conflict at work?

In a workplace mediation the mediator, who is an impartial, non-judgemental, trained third party, helps two or more staff in dispute to try to reach an agreement. Any agreement comes from those in dispute not from the mediator, who will help them come to a robust and workable agreement. There is a sharing of explanations without judgement from the mediator. The mediator guides the parties in seeking to resolve the problem and to find a way forward so that the parties can get back to work in a more peaceful atmosphere.

It is for the staff members in dispute to agree the outcome to resolve the dispute. An agreement settling the dispute is then signed by the members of staff. Workplace mediation is a voluntary process and all discussions are confidential.

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