The Benefits of Mediation
Working relationships can provide us with a real sense of belonging, of being valued and feeling important, they can make the work that we do more fun and interesting. But, we also have a lot invested in our jobs and careers so when things start to become difficult with the people or person who can impact our progress we can feel anxious, excluded, badly treated and our emotions become less controllable. In short, we have a lot to lose and we start to think about ‘fight or flight’.
Examples of where mediation can help:
Difficulties in relationships between employees and their line manager, the well-known expression that people join an organisation and leave their manager.
Peer relationships which are fraught with underlying jealousies, misunderstandings or a sense of unfairness, people commenting on how a colleague ‘gets away with everything’ or ‘didn’t deserve that promotion’.
Personal relationships in the workplace which cause difficulty for others in the team both when the couple are together and after a break-up when the recriminations affect the whole team’s behaviour.
People who are returning from long term sickness absence and are wary of returning to the team, particularly where there have been stress related reasons for their absence which haven’t yet been resolved.
Someone has raised a grievance through a formal process and either during the process or afterwards it is necessary to repair the working relationship so that everyone can move on.
Grievances, bullying or harassing behaviours are affecting team or individual morale and there is the possibility of legal action for unfair or constructive dismissal.
Regarding possible legal action, employment tribunals are legally required to take the ACAS Code of Practice into account when considering relevant cases. The ACAS Code specifically recommends mediation as part of an organisations Grievance Policy and that it also be considered during disciplinary procedures where it may be helpful in resolving conflict.
By using mediation as a means of dispute resolution the organisation demonstrates to any legal process that they have taken reasonable and necessary steps to avoid conflict escalation.
Also, mediation works!
Mediation allows people to repair their relationship whilst maintaining their dignity and pride, it enables them to voice their opinions, be really heard by the other party and refocus on the future. The affect that conflict and disputes can have in the workplace can be devastating; by reaching agreement, harmony can be restored, and everyone involved can focus on their jobs and careers again.
Mediation is faster than any formal process, it can be done in a day.
Mediation is far cheaper than the alternatives; the costs of a tribunal claim can be in the tens of thousands of pounds; recruiting a replacement and training them can cost several thousand pounds; the management hours involved in those processes and the impact on productivity in the team is significant in terms of money and engagement.
Mediation demonstrates to employees that the organisation seeks fair solutions and treats its employees like adults, which has a positive effect on engagement and culture.
It really is a win-win.