Facilitative Workplace Mediations

Posted by LADR on Oct 21st, 2013 in Workplace Facilitation

Disputes between co-workers or between an employee and supervisor occur in every workplace. Usually, these disputes are worked out between the parties in conflict relatively quickly, and calm returns to the workplace. Sometimes, it is harder for the employees to resolve the dispute and a supervisor is brought in to find a solution. The supervisor’s solution may fix the problem or make it worse depending on how it is received by the employees. And when the dispute involves a supervisor, it becomes necessary to move up the “chain of command” to try to resolve the problem. In addition to the disruption in the workplace caused by these disputes, there exists the very real possibility of an escalation of tension leading to various potential claims of harassment, discrimination or other legal action.

Workplace disputes can lead to underperformance resulting from the subsequent emotional toll, stress, etc. These disputes have a negative impact on team spirit and cohesiveness. There can be external impacts on the organization’s reputation and perhaps the loss of business opportunities because of employees distracted by the dispute. Disputes between co-workers can lead to increased absence from work and even to higher employee turnover. Attempting to have a supervisor resolve the dispute can result in an even more heightened sense of alienation and/or retaliation by one of the employees involved in the dispute, if they feel the supervisor is unfairly “taking sides”. Furthermore, if a supervisor is one of the parties in the dispute, using someone in a position above the supervisor can be fraught with problems. Ultimately, an employer can be left with employees and supervisor all spending considerable time focused on the dispute instead of being focused on doing their jobs.

If a dispute between co-workers or an employee and supervisor is causing disruption in the work place, a mediation by an outside mediator can shortcut many of these potential problems. Bringing in an objective mediator to facilitate a resolution of the dispute is a cost effective way to resolve the dispute and get everyone back to work. Using a trained mediator allows the parties to “clear the air” about their perceptions of the cause of the dispute in a safe environment that fosters openness and honesty. This dialogue leads to mutually agreed-to solutions to the dispute. The workplace mediation usually results in the disputing parties agreeing to future ways to keep communication open so as to minimize future disagreements and keep them from escalating. A trained mediator facilitating the meeting between the disputing parties results in a resolution of the dispute and sets in place a mechanism by which the employees can resolve future disagreements.

If your workplace is experiencing disruption caused by disagreements between employees, using a mediator to facilitate a resolution can be the most effective and long lasting method you can use to deal with the problem.