Clients regularly ask us how can workplace mediation help? Conflict is almost inevitable in most work relationships. Some conflict arises over technical issues – such as what tasks to do and how to do them. This can be helpful at times as it drives a company forward to make improvements to processes and policies. However, interpersonal tension can easily damage relationships and lead to wider discord and malfunctioning teams.
3 in 4 UK workers report good relationships with their line managers. Almost 9 in 10 say they have good relationships with colleagues in their teams. By contrast, 1 in 10 reports a poor relationship with their line manager and 1 in 20 reports poor relationships with team colleagues.
Despite this, a number of employees may experience flashpoints of conflict or unfair treatment at work. 3 in 10 workers report at least one form of bullying or harassment in the last year. 1 in 5 UK workers points to a blame culture among their managers and 1 in 5 also point to a lack of an inclusive culture in their teams.
The organisational costs of conflict
Costs can include management time being diverted to deal with the conflict instead of focusing on managing the business. There is the risk of costly formal proceedings such as grievances and employment tribunals. Unworkable relationships can create a decline in productivity. Conflict can create lower staff morale and employee engagement, sickness absence costs and staff turnover and associated recruitment costs.
Our survey finds that nearly four in ten UK employees. 38% report some form of interpersonal conflict at work in the last year. This includes an isolated dispute or incident of conflict. 29% of UK employees reporting at least one case and ongoing difficult relationships (28%).
We tend to be fairly selective in identifying conflict. Which means relatively small numbers report more than one dispute or difficult relationship. This may be because we do not consider most clashes to be serious enough to warrant labelling them ‘conflict’. However, it may also be that we focus on the most significant or most recent clash and underreport others.
So, what can we do?
Workplace Mediation is a starting block. So, how can workplace mediation help? Mediation is a technique that can be a powerful intervention with a high success rate. It is a confidential, voluntary and informal process. The process allows members of staff in conflict to have open and honest discussions through a qualified mediator. It also allows them to clarify the issues that so often lead to communication breakdowns and misunderstandings.
There were around 12,000 mediations in the U.K. in the last year (up 20 % from 2016). The success rate of mediation was 89% with 74% settling on the day. 83% of mediators were categorised as performing very well by lawyers representing participants in mediation.
The value of mediated cases was £11.8 billion in the last year in the U.K. Using mediation for quick resolution is expected to save British businesses £3 billion each year in wasted management time. As well as damaged relationships, lost productivity and legal fees.
Lawyers reported 45% of cases were settled by mediation in the last 12 months. This was the next highest method being a negotiated settlement before issuing court proceedings at 24%. Settled at trial was 4%.
Mediation is therefore an increasingly popular and cost-effective way for businesses, organisations or individuals to resolve disputes.
If you require more advice on how can workplace mediation help, then please call us on 01706 565332 or email email@example.com
Metis HR is a professional HR Consultancy based in the North West of England supporting clients across the country. We specialise in providing outsourced HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. Call us now on 01706 565332 to discuss how we may help you.
We can now provide on-site mentoring services designed to resolve workplace conflicts between employees who have previously worked well together. For further details email Ali Penney on firstname.lastname@example.org