When is mediation appropriate?
Mediation is an extremely powerful tool whenever there is conflict in the workplace and both parties are open to the idea of working towards a solution.
It is highly effective in many situations from relatively simple cases to those associated with claims of harassment or bullying. For example, where relationships have broken down it can be used as a tool to help parties re-evaluate the way that they interact with, and perceive each other.
In bullying and harassment situations, external mediators can be particularly useful as their independence from the situation means that managers are not placed in difficult positions, and can remain entirely impartial.
Subject to the correct policies being in place, mediation can be used at any stage of, or prior to, formal disciplinary or grievance procedures. Should the mediation be unsuccessful, formal processes may be resumed.
Is mediation confidential?
Yes. Signing a confidentiality agreement is a requirement of all parties entering into the process and allows open and honest communication throughout. Any notes that are taken during a mediation process are destroyed, but sometimes, and only with the consent of both parties, a summary of the outcomes of the mediation is provided to the employer to allow them to manage the agreement in future if this is required.
How is mediation different to a grievance or disciplinary?
Mediation is not about deciding who is wrong or right, but rather about a quick, effective resolution and developing a way forward that is acceptable to all parties involved in the conflict. It is also seen as an informal process. A grievance or disciplinary will usually result in one of the involved parties feeling as though they were on the losing end of the deal, whereas mediation aims to provide a positive way forward, that both parties have agreed to. This is supported by the statistics, 80% of respondents to a CIPD survey stated that mediation reduced or eliminated the stress involved in more formal processes, in turn resulting in increased retention of valuable employees (63% of respondents).
What is the best way to organise a mediation?
An effective mediation must always follow a prescribed structure that is explained to all parties in advance of the process and then implemented by the qualified mediator. Using one of the recognised mediation models ensures that the process does not unfairly favour either party and is as effective as possible.
Beststart HR uses the FAIR Mediation Model, and with our mediators being independent from your business, there are no questions of bias, providing optimum conditions for a successful resolution.
Are there any situations where mediation is not appropriate?
Mediation is only possible if both parties agree to the process voluntarily. If one or both parties have been made to participate, then it is extremely unlikely that resolution will be reached.
Mediation is also not possible in instances of harassment or discrimination which either party would like it to be formerly investigated, where a right or wrong answer is required (for example where there may be criminal activity) or when one party may be particularly vulnerable.
What is the outcome of a mediation?
A successful mediation results in a number of points of agreement between the parties, with the aim that if these points are followed, the problem should not reoccur. If problems do resurface, the parties will now have the necessary tools to address issues positively and constructively.
Additional benefits include a reduction in tribunal costs, a reduction in the number of formal grievances raised, promotion of a people development and management culture, and a reduction in sickness absence.
Source:Mediation: An Approach To Resolving Workplace Issues, ACAS, 2013
How is mediation work charged?
Another advantage of the mediation process is that costs are very clear up front. A set amount of time (usually one day) is allocated in advance, and a fixed fee is agreed.
See how our qualified mediator can help you and our mediation services.