For most businesses, healthy conflict is a necessity. It helps to provoke points of views and effective discussion which can lead teams to learn about different perspectives and growing as a result.
However, there are other types of conflict in a workplace which can work the opposite way. Disruptive conflict can lead to damaging morale, reducing productivity and potentially leading to legal costs and issues for the business.
When these types of incidents occur, it’s important that they’re resolved immediately to prevent further disruption. In some cases, specialist assistance may be required to ensure that the issue can be resolved in an effective and impartial way.
This is where workplace mediation can be a good approach to resolve these disputes. It tends to be requested when an informal resolution is required before formal proceedings take place or there’s a specific code of conduct implemented within the organisation.
What is workplace mediation?
Workplace mediation involves the process of a discussion taking place between the two parties involved, in front of either an impartial mediator or mediation solicitors, depending on how the situation has unfolded prior to the mediation taking place.
The idea of workplace mediation is to help the parties come together to work out their differences, coming to a conclusion that is suitable for the both of them.
The mediator is there to simply oversee the process rather than be involved and come up with an outcome they think is suitable. It’s important to note that the mediator must always remain impartial, and is here merely to facilitate the discussion. The positive aspect of a workplace mediation is that even if the discussion doesn’t come to a resolution, both the parties will have a better understanding of the perspectives and concerns that each of them have.
How can workplace mediation be effective for morale?
One of the main benefits of workplace mediation is that it can help to find a resolution in an informal way rather than in a formal, intense setting. Other benefits include:
- It provides a chance early on in the process for the participants to address the issue before it escalates and causes further damage to overall office morale.
- It’s confidential and private, which means it’s not voiced in an open space where others can see and discuss amongst each other.
- It provides an open space where participants won’t be judged on their opinions and perspectives.
- Reflecting back on previous actions during the process not only helps to source where the initial conflict arose but also helps tackle future disputes that may occur between the same colleagues or others.
- It provides those involved and others around them a message that the business cares about the actions and feelings of their employees.
When would mediation be the right approach to conflict?
There are other approaches that can be taken when trying to resolve workplace conflict, with mediation being only one of them. There are several aspects that you need to consider to ensure that mediation is the right way to go about resolving the situation:
- The conflict that’s risen is moderate
- The issues that have been outlined have space to be resolved tangibly
- The participants are open to using mediation to find a solution
- The bargaining power of the participants isn’t of great difference
- The participants have been provided a space to express themselves
- It’s accepted that the process is to take place privately
- The participants are invested in resolving the matter
- The business will provide as much support as required throughout the process until a resolution is confirmed
At Linkilaw, one of our core values is to promote compromise over conflict and build bridges instead of burning them. We recommend mediation as a mean to resolve workplace conflict and as a great process to help employees build better working relationships and move forward in a positive way.
If you have any doubt about mediation or any other legal matter, book a call with our legal team and we’ll answer your questions.
About the author: Jamie Costello is an experienced business/legal writer based in Manchester, UK. He uses his knowledge from education and past employment experiences to help construct his articles. He tends to write around topics such disputes, business tips and employment.