Workplace mediation is fast becoming a necessary part of doing business in Australia. Most workplaces have minor conflicts between employees, which in many ways can be healthy. These type of disagreements can actually help people to understand other viewpoints and lead to positive collaborations.
On the other hand, there are some conflicts that can be damaging to your business, resulting in a lowering of morale, lost productivity and in extreme cases, legal ramifications. This is where expert workplace mediation services can make all the difference, because these conflicts need to be resolved as quickly as possible.
What is workplace mediation?
This is where two or more aggrieved parties meet with the intention of working out their differences and hopefully, come to a workable solution concerning their conflict. To encourage a positive resolution to this meeting, there needs to be a third party who can chair this meeting. This must be someone who is unbiased and independent of either party and has the experience to help both parties achieve an agreement that resolves the dispute. These discussions are kept confidential and the mediator is not there to impose an outcome on either party, they are there to facilitate an outcome that is agreeable to both parties; no outcomes will be forced on either party and it may even take more than one meeting for a resolution to be achieved, if it is at all possible.
Why workplace mediation services are important in the workplace
Essentially, mediation is designed to prevent workplace conflicts becoming out of control and deteriorating to the point where the individuals can no longer work together. As these conflicts escalate, workplace morale can be significantly affected, reducing productivity and causing feelings of stress and anxiety in other employees.
These conflicts need to be resolved as soon as possible, so that everyone can focus on their work and not feel intimidated, anxious or overwhelmed by these negative relationships. Early intervention is essential and allows each party to explain their grievances in a calm, informal and confidential setting.
With the right type of specialist workplace mediation services to facilitate these meetings, both parties can feel empowered and responsible for their own outcomes. HR consultants can assist with this. Your company also sends a clear message to your employees that whilst these type of conflicts are unacceptable, they will be dealt with quickly and in an informal and positive environment.
What is the mediation process?
The process of mediation begins when a minor conflict has become noticeable, productivity is in jeopardy or a complaint has been made to management. At this point, workplace mediation services must be brought into the loop and a meeting arranged between both parties with the aid of an independent mediator.
Each party is given time to state their grievances without interruption, aiming to clarify their disagreement succinctly. Each party is then asked how they would like this issue to be resolved and at the end of the meeting, each party should agree to these changes. If they are unwilling to reach a resolution they may face disciplinary action or even dismissal.
Optimal workplace mediation takes skill, objectivity, experience and understanding. It also requires an ability to encourage both parties to engage fully in the mediation process, and to co-operate and reach an agreeable resolution.