What Is the Process of Workplace Mediation?Nick Richards FDRP LL.B MBA GDLP DMgmt MQLS
Mediation in the workplace is a voluntary process where disputing parties work with a neutral third party to come together and resolve issues that have arisen in the workplace.
Some examples of disputes that occur in the workplace are:
- employee grievances;
- employee complaints;
- interpersonal conflict;
- bullying and sexual harassment matters;
- remuneration grievances;
- promotion grievances;
- performance management.
Mediation provides the parties to resolve their concerns in a safe and controlled environment, where the source of conflict is identified and each party has the opportunity to discuss their concerns from a historical, current, and future perspective and work with the other party to get a better understanding of how things would be done differently in the future.
Mediators for the workplace
Mediators come from different backgrounds but professional mediators are commonly those that have superior skill sets in identifying issues, are adept in problem-solving, and are able to assist parties in communication, negotiation, and self advocation. Some of the best workplace mediators are lawyers given their skill sets needed for advocacy and those with experience and an education in business administration tend to understand the commercial environment and its challenges and dynamics better resulting in superior service to organisations.
Process of workplace mediation
The process of workplace mediation is as follows:
- The code of conduct may stipulate that mediation is a prerequisite to a formal investigation;
- The organisation engages the mediator;
- The mediator sends an invitation to mediate with each party;
- The mediator conducts a formal consultation with each party to get a better understanding of the dispute from each side;
- The mediator reviews the information obtained and develops a dispute resolution plan;
- The mediator will interview other parties that may be invited into the mediation process;
- The mediator conducts multiple sessions with 2 parties;
- The mediator conducts a group session (where appropriate)
- The mediator drafts an agreement between the parties;
- The organisation provides support and facilitates the agreements met between the parties;
- The mediator follows up with each party to understand how things are progressing;
- The mediator may recommend to the organisation a follow-up session.
Time is taken for workplace mediation
The mediation process for workplace disputes is generally conducted over the course of 3 weeks.
The cost associated with workplace mediation
The costs are usually paid by the organisation.
The process of workplace mediation is quick and successful. Disputing parties generally find their level of communication with the other party to be well improved and the likelihood of entering into future conflict is substantially reduced. Organisations that promote mediation have a tendency to retain staff, have productive dynamics, and their overall bottom line stable.
NOTICE: The above is not legal advice and it is recommended that you obtain tailored legal advice related to your own personal circumstances from an Australian legal practitioner.