I have often wondered why employees do not feel more positive about workplace mediation. Perhaps it's because mediation is generally instigated by the employer as a way to deal with conflict between the organisation and its employees.
I was involved with a round table discussion not too long ago discussing this very subject with other mediators at a mediation breakfast meeting. There seemed to be a common thread that ran through our discussion; Knowledge and Understanding. It was believed that a high volume of employees did not have the knowledge or the understanding about how mediation could work for them. Moreover, it was felt that the organisation used mediation as a tool to create a one sided meeting which would only benefit the employer.
So lets set the record straight, mediation is beneficial for both parties.
For the employer it can save damage of reputation and reduce the financial cost should the issue be taken to tribunal. For employees, they will have a neutral party acting as a conduit between them and the employer to enable an open discussion which can allow the employee and employer to reach an amicable arrangement to suit both parties. Another benefit for the employee is the ability to have a candid conversation about the situation at hand without fear or favour knowing the conclusion should result in a more positive working environment.
At a meeting with Cherron Inko-Tariah the author of The Incredible Power of Staff Networks we discussed how Employee Networks (aka Staff Networks) could benefit from understanding the power of mediation. She agreed that education about mediation should be rolled out across the whole organisation but staff networks are potentially a good place to start. Cherron believes that organisations will benefit from a better understanding of workplace mediation and how it can truly effect positively on employee engagement and organisational effectiveness.
Within an Employee Network environment, with a good command of how to use it and with some guidelines in place, mediation could help employee networks to broker meaningful discussions (and/or hold those difficult dialogues) in a group setting. In addition, an employee network can help members to cultivate this vital skill in a safe space, and demonstrate a model way of working for others.
I believe that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a crucial tool to master. From an employee network perspective, it's a skill that will provide leverage, smooth transactions, and help maximise their effectiveness. Organisations that seek a better understanding of wrkplace mediation will discover how it can have a positive effect on employee engagement, build trust, and subsequently boost productivity.
Dianne is an experienced HR Project Consultant, CIPD qualified and Accredited Mediator providing strategic guidance and support with strengths in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). If you would like to know more about how to access ADR training in this area, please contact her:
07957 457 471