12 Jan Things to know about a Workplace Mediator
The process of workplace mediation can be described as a particular and specific art form within conflict resolution. The role of mediator is to manage the process during the course of the mediation. This role is fulfilled by a neutral third party – the mediator – who is impartial to the conflicting parties. The purpose of the process is to provide the parties with ample opportunity to understand any perspectives which conflict with their own. A workplace mediator is different from an arbitrator, a negotiator and from a conciliator. The Workplace mediator never provides nor imposes any decision on the parties who are involved, rather, he or she helps them toward a mutually acceptable outcome based upon their individual and collective needs. Another key difference between mediation and arbitration for example, is that unlike the latter, the former is not legally binding.
What are the advantages of workplace mediation?
Mediation generally, is the ideal solution in cases where disagreements and/or misunderstandings are in their initial stages but is also very effective even where the dispute appears to be intractable. Lets take an example of two managers of two key departments in an organisation. They have fallen out and have been ignoring one another for a few weeks. Without their collaboration and goodwill, the production line slows and there are none of the creative solutions forth coming, which are normally great in number when the two managers are working well together. In this situation workplace mediation is an optimal solution to bring the pair together, where they are willing and also provide space for an open discussion on the issues at hand and the solutions available. Often individuals do not wish to lose face by ending a dispute and rather find themselves spiralling deeper into conflict in situations that were easily resolvable at an earlier stage.
What are the disadvantages?
The disadvantages of mediation are few and far between. Workplace Mediation is a voluntary process which means that vital to its success is the desire of both parties to engage in the session. If one or both parties enter into mediation through any means other than their own energy and will then the process can be severely undermined.
How does the process work?
The process of workplace mediation involves a few steps. They are generalised as follows:
- Mediator phone call with each party
- Individual meetings
- Joint meeting
- Defining the problems and discussing the issues
- Identifying solutions
- Formulation of an agreement
It is vital that the workplace mediator makes sure that both parties understand the process that is being followed. The mediator must also ensure that the parties are entering into the process voluntarily and that they understand the process is confidential.
More details on the workplace mediation joint meeting.
The workplace mediator listens carefully to both parties in mediation but most importantly ensures both parties hear one another. Where the parties struggle to get their message across to one another, the mediator can assist in bringing clarity. The agreement arises from the solutions to the problems discussed and these agreements are required to be mutually acceptable.