Mediation in a workplace?
Mediation is a process used to resolve concerns between more than one person. Mediation entails that the persons with the concern(s)/persons involved in the situation meet with a neutral third-party facilitator in an effort to explore their concern(s) and possible resolution. The mediator is not a party to the mediation but functions as a neutral facilitator to assist the parties in their conversation using a variety of communication techniques. The parties involved in the situation being discussed in mediation are integral to the outcome of the mediation. While the mediator may compose an agreement for resolution on behalf of the parties, the parties are responsible for making decisions related to those outcomes.
As an employer, how can I determine when mediation is appropriate?
When two or three people are miscommunicating often.
When there are difficulties in the work getting done and different perspectives are causing issues with your project.
When people are emotional about the issues.
Prior to beginning discipline
Prior to receiving a claim from an outside agency/lawsuit
Prior to receiving an internal complaint
As a recommended outcome from an internal investigation
When an employee comes to you and requests a facilitated discussion with another employee or supervisor/manager.
Why should I offer mediation services to my employees?
The time spent in mediation will well outweigh the cost of lost productivity due to employee relations issues and turnover. Mediate.com estimates that American companies lose $359 billion/year due to workplace conflict (https://www.mediate.com/articles/kauth-cost-workplace.cfm).
Issues between even small groups can greatly affect the culture and morale in your organization in negative ways which trickle down to customer relations.
Why should I use a contractor for this role?
Mediation is a profession requiring initial and ongoing training in the skills of listening and communication. Using a variety of techniques, the mediator will attempt to move the parties to a place where they can fully explore the situation and possibly address the issue(s) through either a verbal or written agreement. Timing is a critical component of the mediation and mediators are trained on when in the conversation to use the proper communication techniques.
How can mediation be successful?
Because the parties are the ones who come up with the resolution (with facilitation by the mediator), the parties have buy-in to making it work.
Are follow-up mediations necessary?
Not all mediations necessitate additional sessions. However, there are times when the initial session may require a secondary session when the issues or possible resolutions could not be fully explored in the first session. Sometimes a follow-up session needs to be conducted at a later point when changes need to be made to the original agreement or there are additional issues between the parties.