Resolving workplace conflict using mediation

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.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a formal process that helps people resolve workplace conflict.  A trained mediator steps the people in dispute, through a formal process.  Mediation offers a safe and confidential environment, designed to allow the parties to:

  • express what has led to the dispute;
  • consider the key issues or themes surrounding the dispute;
  • listen to each other and see each other’s points of view;
  • generate ideas or options to move forward;
  • come to a negotiated agreement that is documented.

When people have had enough of the conflict

Mediation (like a lot of processes) relies on the willingness of the parties to engage in the process.  Often people have ‘had enough’ of the conflict.  They are tired and want to move on.  The parties don’t want whatever is happening now, to continue.  At this point, they are ready and willing to engage, in working towards a resolution.  To create an agreement that moves them forward.  Interestingly, the agreement doesn’t have to be perfect. Parties look for something that everyone can live with. Consequently, because the parties came up with the solutions, then they are more likely to follow through.

Let us help you get things back on track

Our CEO, Natalie Ashdown is a highly experienced and skilled coach. Natalie is often called into workplaces to do mediation.  She 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.