As employees become more litigious and aware of their rights, conflict in the workplace is becoming increasingly common. This, in conjunction with insecurity in the current economic climate and increased performance management measures, has seen companies experiencing a significant rise in employee grievances and conflict.
According to the CIPD, workplace conflict costs UK employers £24 billion a year in lost working days alone, in addition to average annual costs equating to almost £20,000 for dealing with ET claims. These alarming figures do not include management hours.
In addition to financial costs, organisations often find that conflict causes a reduction in employee engagement, loss of morale, poor working relationships, damage to reputation and ultimately a dysfunctional culture.
Whilst many companies have in-house grievance procedures it is believed that only 25% of situations are brought to a resolution for both disputing parties. Very often managers are reluctant to deal with conflict and recent study by the Centre of Effective Dispute Resolution show that over a third of managers would rather parachute jump for the first time than address a problem with their team at work.
So what can companies do to resolve conflict situations?
Increasingly companies are turning towards mediation as a tool for conflict resolution and this has been reinforced by recent guidance from the Department of Business Innovation & Skills. Mediation is a process that is conducted confidentially by an independent third party. The mediator will meet with the parties in conflict and work towards a negotiated agreement of the dispute. Both parties remain in ultimate control of the decision to settle and the terms of resolution.
By using external mediators, not only will the conflicting employees benefit from being heard independently, external mediators can create a safe environment where both parties can communicate and work towards the restoration of an effective working relationship.
Our workplace mediators are fully skilled and qualified to encourage open and honest dialogue, which leads to increased awareness, understanding and empathy. In turn, this provides both employees and employers with a “win-win” outcome.
Our mediators can resolve employment issues at any stage from pregrievance to post-grievance and employee settlements.
Our services cover:
- An initial telephone conversation with both parties to discuss the benefits of mediation
- A mediation process conducted over one full day
- An agreed action plan
- A follow up 3 months post mediation
For assistance in workplace mediation contact Anita Wynne at Beststart HR on firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 01438 747 747.