Workplace Mediation

Workplace mediation provides a flexible and adaptable process that takes account of interests of the individuals and their organisation. As a discrete intervention it may be used as part of the informal process or in response to issues that have entered the formal arena or, alternatively, it may be used as part of an integrative process.

The adaptable framework of the mediation process and its inherent flexibility allows for a range of applications from two-party conflicts to complex, multi-party and multi-issue disputes.

In response to formal complaints, mediation can allow for outcomes that deliver a more effective and appropriate settlement than those achieved through the narrow remit of investigation or formal review.

Mediation allows the parties control, and unless and until a mediated agreement is finalised and executed by the parties, they are not bound to a particular outcome. While the context and substantive issues in dispute vary from case to case, the core principles of mediation remain the same:

  • The Mediator is independent of the parties.
  • The role of the Mediator is non-directional and non-representative.
  • Mediation is a voluntary process and a party may withdraw at any stage if they decide not to continue with the mediation.
  • Mediation is a confidential process – allowing for privacy and the safeguarding of reputations. All information arising during, out of or in connection with the mediation is without prejudice except where natural disclosure would occur or where required by law.
  • Mediation is particularly suited to the exploration of creative options, facilitating outcomes that may not otherwise be considered.

By focusing on the interests and underlying concerns of the participants, mediation allows for outcomes that reflect the needs of both the individuals and the organisation, providing a viable and enabling alternative to adversarial processes such as investigation and litigation.

Typical cases involve: interpersonal disputes; allegations of bullying and harassment; management/staff difficulties; staff/patient conflicts; difficulties arising from organisational change and intercultural disputes.

According to the 2011 CIPD Conflict Management survey report, the main benefit in using mediation is improving relationships between individuals, cited by 80% of respondents, to reduce or eliminate the stress involved in more formal processes (64%) and to avoid the costs involved in defending employment tribunal claims (52%).

ACAS Report, 2013