Mediation has become almost a buzz word in organisations. Not because is a passing fad but because it has become synonymous with conflict resolution and usually a win win situation for both the employer and employee.
The cost of taking a claim to court not only has great financial impact, but it’s also emotionally and physically draining. The tribunal have introduced new fees from April 2014: employees who wish to put in a first level claim will be charge £180
Organisations and employees are realising that sometimes the fight is just not worth it and that finding and solution that benefits both parties with no comeback seems a far nicer way to spend the next 3 months
Good mediation instils confidence, heightens communication skills and encourages a better working environment that affects us all. When you engage with a trained mediator someone outside the business, who has no direct link or ties to the organisation who can stand objective but fair, your clients appreciate this and are more open to resolution.
Employers that wish to create a culture of conflict resolution either organise training for managers and senior leaders in mediation skills that can lead to accreditation or they engage with a trained mediator. Someone outside the business, who has no direct link or ties to the organisation that can stand objective but fair.
In order to carry out Mediation there are a number of things that a trained mediator should known and do. Probably too much to tell here but here are 3 basic steps
Step 1 – It’s time To Talk
Meet with the individuals separately to find out what the issues are. Explain that you won’t tell the other party everything but you will be giving them a chance to air their views. Its important to engage in active listening, summarise what has been said. Your own views and feelings play no part and this can be difficult if the mediator is known by the parties concerned. If you believe that the matter can be resolved through mediation, bring together the parties to discuss and try and find a resolution
Step 2 – The session
You have to create the right environment for the mediation to take place and agree on a structure on the proceedings and some ground rules. Outline the objectives, ask each party to say what they want to happen. Explain that they must listen to each other and not speak over one another. The clue here is fairness and respect.
Allow both parties to say how they feel and then summarise. Ask them how they see the resolution encouraging them to think about the future direction rather than the past. This will move their focus away from what they think of each and increase the chances of moving towards a positive resolution.
It’s not untypical for emotions to be running high and it’s the job of the mediator to ensure things remain calm. You want to give them a chance to talk without talking over each other. The trained mediator needs to be able to control and empower at the same time. Not an easy feat.
Sometimes conflict management is needed, a gentle but firm approach will often mean you don’t have to escalate upwards.
Step 3 – The next stop is Resolution
The resolution point should be encouraged by the mediator but arrives to by the parties involved. Allow them to take ownership of the situation and the resolution. Ask them to respectfully tell the other what they want and vice versa. If the request is rebutted, allow them to seek a way around this. It is important not to offer a solution that is outside your remit or responsibility.
Confidential should be stressed at all times. An agreement may be drawn up but in most cases a simple verbal agreement is enough.
Sounds easy???? Well think again. An inexperienced or unknowledgeable mediator has the potential to make things worse. It is not a game of trial and error. If you snooze, you will lose.
Call me if you require a mediator that knows how to get results and gets the results QUICK!