For anyone in the workplace, it’s easy to simply point fingers when issues arise. However, as anyone who has been at the centre of a workplace dispute will know, this often solves very little. Instead, the best solution to making your workplace a healthier and happier place is to invest your time and energy into getting disputes resolved as quickly as possible, which sometimes requires external assistance.
After all, finding solutions rather than finding faults is a major part of modern business management. In the first place, it’s always good to open up the communication lines and try to resolve with open and honest discussion and intentionally trying to understand the other persons point of views. But when that fails, don’t just look for a 48 hour fix. Mediation can give you a platform with the help of a qualified independent mediator, to achieve a much greater understanding of all the frustrations and problems at hand, and can often lead to a mature, frank exchange of views that will keep all members of the workplace satisfied, improve productivity and an outcome that is sustainable.
Why Use Mediation in the Workplace?
Many people feel that their only options are to speak with their supervisors or bosses, but have that feeling that things wont be sorted. But in reality, mediation can be used to help:
· Get a better handle on the interests of the parties and not just the facts.
· Open up conversation with a focus on the purpose of the work and business giving fresh ways to move the dispute forward
· Fully understand what happened with independence, rather than bias.
· Move everyone towards an agreement and outcome for themselves and the business rather than continually going over the facts of the dispute.
Investigations, while sometimes required, can often leave one party or team felling like they lost. It can be avoided entirely if there is no stable rounds and evidence to point to the need for one. It should only be used when there is a clear and obvious breach of company procedure and protocol that will more than likely require more significant forms of discipline. However, if after that the people still need to work together or their job roles overlap they will still need a way to communicate moving forward. Mediation will set that up with objective measures that can be maintained and monitored.
Mediation allows for future solutions to be sought so the situation does not need to happen again; for them or anyone else. Mediators are not here to play the role of adjudicator: often, they are there to try and better understand the full scenario, the conflict, the perspectives and to determine how the future work environment will look and feel for those directly in the dispute. Thereafter more training for the whole staff might also be necessary for the team to move past the difficult time. There is no point just putting the new responsible behaviours and attitudes into a broken and unwanted work culture.
Workplace Mediation is about taking control
Since workplace conflict can arise for all manner of reasons, a mediator’s role is to work with each person in preparation to be open, honest and clear about their views and perspective. While the aim is not to bring everyone together and just shake hands for a 2 minute insincere fix, it’s to forge a better future with actionable objective steps that are sustainable.
Rather than talking needlessly about past incidents, a mediator is expected to help all team members to work out how they got to the situation they found themselves in, how to identify the red flags next time and what could be done better to avoid a re-occurrence of the same issues.
Mediation is fast becoming a tool keeping workplaces running effectively and a strategy for dealing with disputes as soon as they arise, ensuring they don’t escalate for no reason as well as strategically to capacity build and improve workplace culture. SHAW Dispute Resolution are experienced with workplace disputes and welcome conversations around how our Mediators can be on hand when the need arises.