Mediation is a dispute resolution process where a Third Party helps people involved in a conflict situation reach a mutually acceptable solution. It is a voluntary and relatively informal process where the mediator works with the parties using a set of agreed ground rules to facilitate the settlement of the differences between the parties on their terms.
There are some very significant benefits for an employer to use mediation as a means of resolving workplace conflict. A recent CIPD study (2012) highlights the benefits & effectiveness as follows:
|Benefits of Mediation||%
Most effective means to
resolve conflict at work
|Improves relationships between employees||83%||Informal discussion between parties||94%|
|Reduces stress of using more formal processes||71%||Mediation||76%|
|Retains valued employees||63%||Grievance process||64%|
|Reduces formal grievances||57%||Compromise Agreement||23%|
|Builds a people focussed culture||55%||ACAS conciliation||6%|
|Avoid cost of Tribunal claims||49%||Tribunal Hearing||2%|
Independent mediation can be used in a variety of circumstances that have resulted in workplace conflict. The CIPD research highlighted the 3 most common situations where mediation services have been called for to resolve workplace conflict are:
Mediation works most effectively when it is used to resolve workplace conflict early. When left as a last resort there is an increased risk of a complete breakdown of trust which increases the challenge.
Typically there are 5 stages involved in the mediation process cycle. Time spent on and between stages may vary according to the circumstances.
In some cases additional private sessions may be arranged with the parties after stage 4.