Workplace mediations are usually instigated by Human Resources departments that want to prevent a disagreement escalating into a formal dispute and to restore a good working relationship between colleagues. They are about resolving differences as much as solving problems, focusing on the future rather than attributing blame.
These cases take around 8-13 hours and are sometimes resolved in just a day when the situation is particularly urgent. Generally, however, it is easier to make a lasting change in behaviour and attitude when participants can take their time to work through the issues over a period of days. These issues are often complex and particularly sensitive, and the costs of getting it wrong can be very high so they need to be approached carefully.
The following are typical situations:
- Helping colleagues to form an effective working relationship where they have very different styles or values
- Rebuilding a working relationship after a disciplinary or grievance procedure has taken place
- Providing an alternative to using formal disciplinary and grievance procedures
- Defusing situations where performance management is perceived by the employee as bullying
- Senior board level disputes
Whether mediation is used with, or as an alternative, to more formal procedures such as disciplinary and grievance disputes procedures, it will always save and deescalate organisational costs and time.