Workplace mediation is a valuable tool to use in resolving and preventing conflict. The disputes that we manage take many forms and can included issues such as:
Whereas most cases involve two people, our workplace mediators have experience of managing cases which may include several parties or a group of people.
Policy-makers and organisations are increasingly recognising that mediation, and other forms of ADR, have a particular resonance in the workplace.
People are the key to organisational success and productivity. Negative conflict between individuals or groups of individuals can severely hamper an organisation's drive for competitive advantage and damage employee well-being.
Following the Gibbons review of employment dispute resolution in 2007, ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance introduced a specific reference to mediation in its foreword; and in the Government's response to its 2011 consultation, 'Resolving Workplace Disputes', it made clear its intention:-
"...to embark on a long-term reform programme to build a new approach to resolving workplace disputes so that the use of mediation to resolve disputes becomes a more accepted and trusted part of the process" (BIS 2011).
The CIPD 2011 Conflict Management survey report found that 57% of organisations had used mediation compared with 43% in 2008. There are convincing reasons to promote the wider use of mediation in individual employment disputes.
The advantage of using an informal approach means there is greater flexibility in how it is used to suit specific circumstances, and the confidentiality of the process can offer a breathing space that allows more open and honest discussion.
Mediation is especially effective when used at the initial phase of any disagreement, before conflict escalates in the workplace. An early intervention can prevent both sides from becoming entrenched, and the difference turning into a full-blown dispute. If the disagreement is resolved early on, there is less chance of the working relationship breaking down irrecoverably.
This improves the likelihood of maintaining good and productive employment relations in the longer term.
Moreover, employment tribunals do not resolve systemic problems at work that may underlie an individual dispute. Mediation is more likely to enable the employer to get beneath the problem and make changes to working practices that can benefit employees and the organisation more generally in the long term.
In particular, mediation can help to address issues around stress, helping to prevent long-term absence.
Being involved in a conflict, be it a personality clash or a dispute over performance, can cause psychological stress leading to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. The welfare of the organisation is bound up with the health of its employees.
The 2011–12 Labour Force Survey recorded a total of 428,000 people in the UK who reported suffering from stress, depression or anxiety, out of a total of 1,073,000 for all work-related illnesses. Stress-related ill-health is only marginally less than reported musculoskeletal disorders, but the gap is narrowing (HSE).
In 2011, CIPD and CBI surveys on absence reported that stress and mental health issues had become the number one reason for long-term absence.
In 2008, ACAS commissioned GfK NOP to carry out a telephone interview survey of managers in 500 SMEs to assess their experience of mediation; of those that had used mediation, almost half said that the last mediation had resolved the issues completely (49%), and more than four in five (82%) said it had resolved the issues either completely or partly.
Please review our Workplace Employment mediation fee structure here.
Collis Mediation Ltd
6 Marchcote Lane
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