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Mediation: An effective and efficient way of resolving workplace conflict

Conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. Everyone has experienced it to some degree. Some conflict can be positive and constructive, if handled appropriately, but without the right process and structure in place it often ends up being damaging and destructive to an organisation.

Mediation can be used at any stage in the conflict situation to try and get the working relationship back on track.

When disputes occur, it will almost always result in a stressful and unpleasant working environment for the people involved and colleagues who have to work alongside them. When concerns are not dealt with effectively, they can escalate to much more serious problems such as stress-related absenteeism, grievances and even tribunal claims.

It is estimated that workplace conflict in the UK costs £34 billion per annum. Around 10 million employees experience conflict in the workplace each year, with more than half reporting stress, anxiety or depression as a result.

You may already be aware of the high level of service we provide to support our clients with regards to HR and Employment Law issues. However, we also offer a professional, accredited mediation service which is designed to facilitate conflict resolution quickly and cost-effectively.

Delivered by our accredited consultant Isabelle Shankar, our mediation service will seek to repair working relationships and resolve matters to the satisfaction of all parties concerned, outside of formal proceedings. It is a confidential and voluntary process and can be applied to a variety of situations where relationships have become difficult, strained, or appear to have broken down completely.

Our service is much more likely to yield the positive results sought than any informal attempts at ‘mediation’ in-house, by line managers or HR. When attempting to do ‘informal mediation’, it is difficult (at times impossible) to ensure the degree of impartiality required to achieve success. Additionally, our professional accreditation allows us to utilise the most effective tools in supporting and facilitating a constructive dialogue between the parties and encourage positive action in a non-judgmental way.

  • How does the service work?
    EML will meet with each party separately at the outset, allowing them adequate space and time to express, and reflect, on their current and future position.
  • A joint meeting will then be convened at a neutral venue. At this meeting the mediator (EML) will facilitate discussion of the issues and the respective positions of the parties with a view to building a workable future focused plan of action between them.
  • At all times, EML’s focus will be to support the parties in finding a mutually acceptable and amicable way of moving forward. Mediation is an empowering, future focused process.
  • A successful process will conclude with EML producing a written agreement and providing copies to each of the parties concerned.
  • Anything discussed during the mediation process will remain entirely confidential between the parties and should not be shared with others unless mutually agreed.

Mediation works because it supports the parties in finding their solution, suited to their needs, and does so in a safe and appropriate environment. As such the solution is much more likely to be realistic and future proof. It also leaves both parties feeling empowered, as opposed to one or both of them feeling chastised. Whilst it does require a third party (a trained mediator) to achieve success, it remains the success of the parties.

At EML we fully appreciate the difficulty that employers face when they encounter workplace conflict. If you’re an employer faced with a pending conflict situation, or if you are simply being pro-active in making arrangements for conflict resolution in general, please contact us on 01942 727200 or email in confidence and without obligation to find out how we can help.