Workplace mediation is a type of dispute resolution whereby the parties to a conflict, whether this be two or more individuals and/or groups, are provided the opportunity to vocalise their concerns in an open, confidential, and respectful environment with the oversight of an independent third party. The aim of workplace mediation is to resolve workplace conflict through informal and collaborative means to promote an ongoing, positive relationship between the parties moving forward.
Disagreements in the workplace are inevitable. However, it is how these disagreements are handled that sets employers apart. Often, parties to a disagreement find it difficult to understand or appreciate the point of view of the opposing party. The open and confidential environment of a workplace mediation allows both parties to express their viewpoint, and the presence of a mediator ensures these viewpoints are expressed clearly and respectfully. Parties collaboratively settle on a resolution that the mediator will ensure meets their needs moving forward and results in an equal compromise.
Workplace mediations are voluntary and not aimed at determining facts or enforcing outcomes. Mediation may only be suitable in certain instances. But if available, it provides a resource-light, time efficient, and delicate approach to issues that could otherwise impact employee engagement and satisfaction. Its informal nature also reduces disruptions to the rest of the workforce.
In some instances, parties will not be able to settle on a resolution due to their inherent or longstanding differences. Nevertheless, workplace mediation will broaden their perspective of the situation, providing a strong foundation for further dispute resolution measures.