Resolving workplace conflict using mediation is a highly successful process. Research suggests that 87% of workplace disputes can be resolved using mediation. In addition, satisfaction rates with the process and outcomes are just as high. When is the right time to initiate a formal mediation process?
When you have tried everything to resolve workplace conflict
We hear managers say ‘I’ve tried everything’ when it comes to resolving workplace conflict. For example, they try:
- getting the parties together to talk;
- lengthy conversations with HR people involved;
- changing people’s jobs or tasks;
- enforcing a form of segregation of duties;
- and even directing and telling people what to do.
All in an effort to ‘fix things’. Basically, managers just want the parties to resolve their issues, so they can just ‘get on with’ their jobs.
And be happy.
Similarly, when it comes to resolving workplace conflict, the parties in dispute say: ‘I just want to come to work; do a good job and go home!’.
Unfortunately, nothing seems to work. Things go ‘quiet’ for a short time. Then the smallest of incident will make the conflict blow up again.
The cost of not resolving workplace conflict
The cost of not resolving conflict in the workplace is significant. Costs are measured in terms of:
Emotional costs: you have people in your office crying; people going on sick leave; it’s an extremely stressful time for everyone involved.
Economic costs: decrease in productivity; poor work performance and the risk of litigation.
Relationship costs: relationships are eroded; people stop talking to each other; collaboration dries up; trust is gone.
Leadership costs: a manager or leader’s energy is taken up trying to resolve disputes; leaving little time for strategy and business priorities.
The mediation process
At Open Door we follow a 12-step process recommended by the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria. A typical process can take somewhere between 90 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the type of conflict and the number of parties involved. Furthermore, the willingness of parties to find a resolution that will move them forward. The steps involved are:
- Proposal: the Mediator takes a brief from the key stakeholders and writes a proposal for the mediation services
- Preparation: the Mediator prepares for the session
- Introduction: introducing the parties to the process
- Statements: each party makes a statement describing what has led them to the dispute
- Summaries: the mediator summaries the main issues that have been tabled from each of the parties
- Creating a discussion agenda: the Mediator formalises the key topics of discussion
- Exploration: each party has the opportunity to explore and speak about the agenda items
- Private session: each party is invited to have a private session with the Mediator to discuss their position and to generate options to move forward
- Negotiation: the parties make offers to resolve the dispute
- Agreement: the parties find and document the agreement to move forward
- Closing: closing remarks are made by the Mediator
- Debriefing: the Mediator debriefs the process with stakeholders (as appropriate).
Let us help you get things back on track
Our CEO, Natalie Ashdown is a highly trained mediator and highly experienced and skilled coach. Natalie completed her formal mediation training with Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria. Natalie has an exceptional track record of helping people get back on track. Not just resolving issues in the short term. Helping people find a resolution that is going to work well into the future.
Resolving workplace conflict is something that we are passionate about at Open Door. We want happy, healthy workplaces where people are proud to come to work and are high performing in their work.
The use of mediation is a highly effective way to help you achieve your business outcomes.