Does workplace mediation work is a question people ask themselves when they have a situation at work that would benefit from the services of a professional mediator.
Usually, relationships and communications between two or more people have broken down and it is causing a problem in the workplace. It is at this point, a workplace mediator is brought in.
But what exactly does a workplace mediator do? And does workplace mediation work in the long run?
Let’s have a look at whether workplace mediation works using a case study from one of our many happy customers to demonstrate just how effective workplace mediation can be.
What Was The Problem?
Two employees had stopped speaking to each other due to a lot of gossip and rumours.
The company had previously handled this by separating the two employees into different departments, so they didn’t need to see each other. At first, this was successful until the company needed to close one of the departments due to a restructure.
The company did not want to make either of the employees redundant as they were both excellent employees and the best candidates for their roles.
However, problems were brewing between the two.
Unable to work together, the two employees were being fuelled by rumours and gossip within the workplace, and both were believing everything they heard about the other.
The company knew something had to be done.
Management tried to diffuse the situation by holding an informal chat separately with each of the employees. However, this resulted in the pair arguing and one being suspended.
Determined not to give up on their otherwise fantastic employees, the company called us in for our professional mediation services.
What Did Metis HR Do?
The process of mediation is rigid and well-structured, but it is an active process that all parties engage in. Workplace mediation works when this process is followed.
By utilising this process, our mediation specialist was able to break down the negative perceptions they had of one another and work towards a place of mutual understanding and acceptance.
What Was The Solution?
Through the mediation process, the two employees were able to work on a plan to repair their working relationship so they could both continue to work at the same company.
They are still working together now.
What Was The Feedback?
Feedback from the client was that they were surprised and happy with how quickly the employees had begun talking again and the workplace feels more harmonious.
What is Workplace Mediation?
Workplace mediation is a voluntary process where an impartial and trained professional works with two or more people to resolve conflict in the workplace.
It is not the same as handling a grievance as there are no ‘losers’ in the mediation process. Neither party is particularly at fault nor broken any rules of the workplace. They just don’t get on, have difficulty communicating, or are amid a misunderstanding.
During the mediation process, all parties may sit with the mediator around a table and discuss the situation. Or, the mediator may pass back and forth between the parties and work with each individually until a resolution is found.
Why Does Mediation Help?
Mediation brings two sides together to see the situation from the other’s perspective.
When mediation is done correctly, it leaves all parties feeling that a fair, reasonable, and appropriate solution has been reached.
It leads to a far more harmonious workplace, meaning employees can carry on with their job unencumbered by ill-feeling. Employees are more productive and staff turnover is reduced. Well trained and otherwise excellent staff do not have to leave the company.
When Should A Professional Mediator Be Engaged?
Workplace mediation works when both sides are willing to reach a compromise.
It can also prevent the need for a formal disciplinary process by stopping ill-feeling before it can escalate.
Or, following a disciplinary procedure, workplace mediation can help to repair any residual ill feeling.
A professional mediator can help when:
- There are misunderstandings between colleagues
- A conflict has arisen between staff and managers
- There are communication difficulties
- There are negative perceptions between work colleagues
Does Workplace Mediation Work?
Workplace mediation can be incredibly effective when solving workplace disputes. It is not a magic wand, however. Both parties have to be willing to work towards a compromise.
The employer must also be realistic about the likely outcomes.
Some outcomes could be a commitment to change behaviour, an acknowledgement of each other’s feelings, or an agreement to share responsibility.
It will not automatically make people who don’t get on be best friends, but it can pour oil on troubled waters.
Get In Touch For Professional Mediation Services
If you would like to find out if workplace mediation can work for you, please get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you.
Our mediator has a wealth of experience working within a range of businesses and has found a resolution to some very complex issues.