What is workplace mediation, many people ask us here at Metis HR Ltd. Mediation is defined by ACAS as “a completely voluntary and confidential form of resolving workplace disputes between people”. It involves a trained independent mediator working with people within a business or workplace environment who attempt to seek an amicable resolution for everyone concerned in the workplace conflict.
Both ACAS and Tribunals actively encourage parties to engage in workplace mediation. A methodical approach to mediation may help resolve conflicts, improve communication, restore trust and allow the parties to move forward.
When is Workplace Mediation Appropriate?
Workplace Mediation can be used to resolve a variety of disputes at work. It can be helpful in cases where there is a dispute between employees who are both willing to resolve their differences. It can also be used in the early stages of employee grievances or potential disciplinaries to help promote resolutions and without the need for potential formal action. Workplace Mediation can be particularly helpful where the parties want to ensure there is a good working relationship moving forward.
Workplace Mediators can be flexible as to how the parties approach it. They may sit around a table and discuss the issues in an open forum, using the mediator to chair. Or the mediator may pass back and forth between the parties and discuss their issues separately.
Qualified mediators may think of practical and innovative solutions to complex problems, or suggest outcomes appropriate for the individuals and/or business involved. Mediation allows much more flexibility than the courts have when considering remedies.
When is it not appropriate?
There are some circumstances when mediation is not an appropriate response to dealing with a workplace issue. A situation involving serious misconduct would need to be dealt with through a formal process. Workplace Mediation is a voluntary process and everyone has to be willing to enter in to it.
What are the Advantages?
Mediation can be an efficient and cost-effective way of dealing with employment problems. A skilled mediator will quickly identify the key issues in a case and establish what outcome both sides want to achieve.
There are no timelines for mediation as it can be used alongside any stage of a process. It can be used in the workplace at the very outset of a grievance with a view to resolving problems informally and pragmatically. It can also be used before or during litigation. Employment tribunals or court proceedings can be time-consuming, expensive and stressful. Workplace mediation offers a pragmatic alternative. Sometimes, even if a case is not completely resolved by mediation, it can still be very effective in narrowing the issues and steering the parties towards settlement.
Discussions that are conducted during mediation are not binding and the whole process is entirely confidential. The outcome will only be binding if it is agreed by both parties.
What are the Disadvantages?
The main downside of mediation is that there is no guarantee of a resolution. It can be seen as an expensive process if an outcome cannot be reached. It is therefore only worthwhile if both parties are prepared to compromise. Some people want to ‘have their day in court’ and feel a sense of injustice if the process is not seen through until the end.
If you require more advice and information and what is workplace mediation, 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