In a former article the benefits of mediation in workplace disputes (including conduct matters) were discussed. This form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can be highly effective in time, cultural impact and cost. 

What actually happens during mediation?

The mediation process is carefully structured to guide disputing parties towards a resolution while maintaining a respectful and supportive atmosphere. Here’s an overview of the typical steps involved:

  • Introduction: The mediator introduces themselves and explains their role. Parties are encouraged to share their perspectives on the issue, setting the tone for open communication.
  • Issue Identification: The mediator facilitates a discussion where each party presents their viewpoint. This helps in clarifying the underlying issues and identifying common ground.
  • Generating Options: Collaboratively, parties brainstorm potential solutions to the problem. This phase encourages creativity and allows for out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Negotiation: Parties engage in discussions to evaluate and refine the suggested solutions. The mediator guides the conversation, ensuring that both parties are heard and that the conversation remains respectful.
  • Agreement: Once a mutually agreeable solution is reached, the mediator helps formalise the agreement in a written document. This agreement outlines the actions each party will take to implement the solution/s.
  • Follow-Up: Some mediations include a follow-up phase to ensure that the agreed-upon solutions are being implemented effectively. This step reinforces accountability and demonstrates the commitment of the parties to the resolution.

Most importantly, the parties to the dispute come up with the issues and solutions on their own. The mediator has little to nothing to do with this, other than to strategically assist both parties in coming up with a resolution. 

What is the advantage of using a mediator? 

Mediators are nationally accredited, trained and experienced in assisting parties to resolve matters outside of formal investigations, or legal proceedings. They can be done quickly and with minimal impact in workplaces. They also allow for:

  • Flexible and customised solutions: Mediation allows for tailored solutions that fit the unique circumstances of the parties involved. This flexibility often results in more practical and sustainable resolutions compared to rigid legal remedies.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety: Traditional dispute resolution methods can be emotionally draining and adversarial. Mediation offers a less confrontational environment, reducing stress and anxiety for all parties.
  • Enhanced communication skills: Mediation encourages active listening and effective communication. Through dialogue, parties can develop and refine their communication skills, which can be invaluable for future interactions.
  • Increased job satisfaction: Resolving workplace disputes through mediation positively impacts the work environment. Employees feel heard and valued, leading to increased job satisfaction and a more engaged workforce.
  • Long-term benefits: Mediation addresses underlying issues, which can prevent future conflicts from arising. This proactive approach contributes to a healthier workplace culture.
  • Retains decision-making power: Unlike investigation findings or court outcomes, where decisions are imposed, mediation empowers parties to shape the outcome. This sense of control can lead to greater acceptance and compliance with the agreed-upon solutions.

With an emphasis on collaboration, communication, and understanding, mediation ensures that conflicts are not merely resolved but transformed into opportunities for growth. 

At PICA we have Human Resource based Bundles which are perfect for building these mediation tools.