Workplace mediation is a voluntary, confidential and ‘without prejudice’ process in which an impartial mediator, works with employees and /or management who are in conflict or dispute , to explore, understand and appreciate their differences with a view to re-establishing and/or improving their working relationship.
The Mediation Process
The Mediator will meet with each person individually to understand the issues from each person’s point of view. During these individual meetings the mediator will also spend time on conflict coaching to assist the parties in adjusting communication styles and ways of approaching or analyzing conflict to help them listen and be heard by the other party. The mediator will then bring the parties together for a face-to-face mediation session. The mediation meeting is structured in order to encourage constructive communication and clarification of the main issues, and help disputants to come up with mutually acceptable agreements as to the way forward.
These voluntary agreements are then usually written up at the end of the mediation and provide the basis for a follow-up meeting with the mediator at some point in the future in order to see how the agreements are working out. A follow-up meeting is usually scheduled for 1 – 3 months later to provide additional support and to hold the parties accountable to the commitments they made to each other.
Some of the issues that Workplace Mediation can address;
- Strained relationships
- Incompatibility or personality clashes
- Deteriorating Performance
- Disputes between individuals and divisions/teams
- Discrimination and differences in values (organisational and individual)
- Organisational change
Workplace Mediation offers important benefits to employers and employees alike;
- It provides fast, creative, mutually satisfactory resolutions.
- When a dispute is mediated shortly after it arises, the chances of optimal resolution are much greater: the parties’ differences have not had a chance to fester, the situation is generally more fluid, and the parties have more resolution options available to them.
- Mediated resolutions work better and last longer than authoritatively imposed resolutions because everyone involved has a stake and buys into them.
- Further, mediation fosters mutual respect through improved communication, and can mend and preserve strained working relationships even when the parties are extremely hurt and angry, thereby improving morale and productivity.
- Mediation resolves disputes before they are determined by the CCMA (and which determinations will not address the underlying causes of the conflict or the needs of the parties).
- Mediation saves actual costs and associated costs such as management time.
- Mediation supports HR and line management .