Workplace Mediation

Workplace mediation is a flexible and adaptable process that takes account of interests of the individuals and their organisation. The adaptable framework of mediation and its inherent flexibility allow for a range of applications from two-party, single issue conflicts to complex, multi-party multi-issue disputes.

In response to formal complaints, mediation allows for more effective and appropriate outcomes than those achieved through the narrow remit of investigation or tribunal.

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

  • The Mediator is independent of the Parties and the organisation.
  • The role of the Mediator is non-directional and non-representative. She does not judge or decide the outcome of the situation.
  • Mediation is strictly voluntary, and a Party may withdraw at any stage of the mediation process.
  • Mediation is a confidential process. 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, allowing outcomes that may not otherwise be considered.

By focusing on the interests and underlying concerns of the Parties, 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, tribunal or litigation.

Mediation can be used as part of the informal process or in response to issues that have entered the formal arena and it can be used as part of an integrative process.

Suitable cases include: interpersonal disputes; allegations of bullying and harassment; management/staff difficulties; conflicts arising from performance issues; 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