Mediation has traditionally been done in a room between two parties and a mediator looking at each other over a table. The pandemic changed it all. As a volunteer for Metro Court, Magistrate Court, and the State, we had to continue providing services and those entities quickly pivoted to an online platform.
Just this week, the EEOC released an article indicating that its virtual mediation program has been highly successful. Participants in the EEOC’s program felt that parties felt the mediation program was extremely effective and were willing to participate in the mediation program in the future. In fact, seventy percent of participants signified that they would prefer an online modality to an in-person mediation if they were to mediate again.
Online mediation provides another tool that employers can tap into to help their employees communicate and get to the root of issues. Once those issues and feelings are fully explored, the parties can start to move towards building a better working relationship.
Online mediation can make the mediator and the parties more accessible, particularly if one of the individuals is from outside the local area. In addition, if the mediator is the individual who would otherwise be required to travel, it can lower the employer’s costs for contracting with the mediator.
Online mediation provides all the same features, including breakout rooms. In addition, because the parties are in their own environment rather than in an off-site location, participants tend to be more comfortable.
Mediation is often less costly than other forms of employer resolutions. For example, a workplace mediation will usually take about three hours to conduct. While an investigation will vary on time spent dependent on the number of witnesses and complexity of issues, they generally take no less than eight hours and are frequently even more time intensive. Responding to complaints submitted by employees to outside agencies will generally take even more time.
If you have an issue between two employees or between an employee and their manager, consider using Southwestern HR Consulting to conduct a mediation between the parties. It is a low-cost way to have the employees be involved in the resolution. Contact SWHRC today for more information!
Written by | Magdalena Vigil-Tullar
HR Consultant | MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CLRP