Traditionally, most organisations have resolved conflict using the punitive trio of disciplinaries, grievances and investigations. The problem with these processes is that they focus on punishment rather than restoring workplace relationships and generate ‘lose-lose’ outcomes.
Advantages of mediation
Mediation is a confidential process in which a trained mediator helps the conflict participants to discuss and resolve their conflict, and to agree on productive ways of working together in future.
Most organisations’ first experience of mediation is by using an external mediator, who is engaged specifically to help resolve an individual dispute. Once they have seen how well mediation works, they are often keen to explore setting up their own internal mediation scheme, and embed mediation more deeply in the organisational culture.
Why set up an internal mediation scheme?
Setting up an internal mediation scheme has a number of key benefits:
- It gives the organisation access to trained workplace mediators who understand the organisation’s values, culture and structure
- It shows a commitment to creating a workplace where people can work together with dignity and respect
- Employees are happier and more productive in an environment where they are confident that their conflicts can be resolved quickly and effectively
- Leaders feel more supported to manage conflict within their teams
- It changes the focus from punishing employees to empowering them to resolve their own conflicts
- It allows conflicts to be resolved earlier, more effectively and more economically than the traditional methods of grievances, disciplinaries and investigations
- It reduces the risk of conflicts escalating into expensive employment tribunal cases
- The organisation will develop a culture & reputation as a place where workplace conflicts are managed positively and resolved constructively.
How do we go about this?
In order to be successful, any internal mediation scheme must:
- have the support of management and key stakeholders
- be staffed by well-trained mediators who have been carefully selected from existing staff for the qualities needed in a good mediator (including empathy, listening skills, ability to build rapport, ability to remain impartial and to facilitate rather than dictate solutions)
- be supported by a carefully drafted conflict resolution policy, which is fully integrated into the organisation’s existing policies
- be co-ordinated internally by a trained mediation scheme co-ordinator, who will engage participants and mediation and make the necessary mediation arrangements
- include training for senior staff to raise awareness of the benefits of mediation and how the scheme works
- ensure that scheme mediators have regular CPD to keep their skills up-to-date
- deliver value, in the sense of resolving conflict at an early stage before it escalates
How can Gooding & Crow help?
Would you like to establish an effective internal resolution scheme to resolve workplace conflicts quickly, easily and cost effectively? We can help!
Our internal mediation schemes are designed to:
- be collaborative and based on honest communication and mutual respect
- generate win-win solutions
- provide those solutions quickly, before the conflict causes significant damage
- empower employees (rather than investigating and disciplining them)
- foster positive working relationships going forward
- provide a huge return on investment by significantly reducing the costs of conflict
We design and help our clients to implement bespoke mediation schemes. Our packages include:
- briefing sessions with you so we fully understand the organisation and its culture
- support preparing a business case for the mediation scheme and engaging stakeholders
- a new conflict resolution policy which integrates with existing policies
- advice on recruiting internal mediators
- tailored experiential training for internal mediators
- our support to raise awareness of the new scheme internally
- our support to evaluate performance of the scheme after implementation
- ongoing annual CPD to keep mediators’ skills sharp.
Do get in touch if you’d like a no-obligation chat about how we may be able to help.