Mediation is when an independent and impartial third party discusses a problem with you and your employer (or between you and another employee) to try and find a solution. It’s often used after informal discussions have failed to come up with a solution and helps individuals hold honest discussions and express emotions in a safe environment with the goal of working through problems in order to reach a resolution. Iluminar is qualified to act as a mediator and involving us at an early stage can help your business resolve what can be complex or challenging disputes in an effective way that is acceptable to both parties and can reduce organisational costs associated with ongoing conflict. The ultimate goal of mediation is to arrive at a mutually acceptable win/win outcome for the parties involved. It is a voluntary and confidential form of dispute resolution during which the mediator can talk to both sides separately or together. Mediators do not make judgments or determine outcomes, but rather will carefully probe and ask questions that help uncover underlying issues. This in turn, helps the parties to understand each other’s position and reach options for resolving their difference or dispute. The priority is to restore and maintain the employment relationship if at all possible and focus on working together in the future rather than determining who was right or wrong in the past.
Mediation is ideal for addressing a range of issues including relationship breakdown, personality clashes, communication problems and bullying allegations, although care should be taken when mediation reveals actual discrimination or harassment claims which may need to be dealt with through formal investigative procedures.
It is often easy for parties to become entrenched in a dispute leading to unnecessary escalation, but involving a mediator at an early stage can be most effective in preventing a complete break down in working relationships. There is also a significant organisational cost to businesses from workplace conflicts both direct and indirect such as:
- Time consuming formal procedures and tribunals
- Sickness and absence costs as a result of unresolved conflict
- Diversion of management time and resources
- Higher staff turnover leading to recruitment and training costs
- Lower moral, poor team-working and blame culture resulting in low productivity and performance
- Potential damage to the business’s external reputation
For this reason many companies build a mediation stage into their corporate grievance procedures and if you have not done so, it’s worthy of consideration.
In a nutshell, the benefits of mediation can be quickly summarised as follows:
- It’s quick to arrange
- It’s less costly in comparison to the cost of an unresolved ongoing dispute.
- It lends a positive approach and is more likely to achieve an acceptable outcome for those involved
- It’s more constructive as it seeks to restore working relations rather than end them
The success rate from mediation is extraordinarily high with organisations like ACAS quoting resolution rates above 80%. A much-quoted statistic is that 93% of disputes submitted to mediation are resolved within one day!
Let us know if you would like to know more about how mediation could work for your company or indeed if you have a current dispute for which we might offer independent and impartial services.