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.

Workplace mediation may lead to an effective dispute resolution if conducted correctly. Workplace mediation is a confidential and voluntary discussion between parties involved in the conflict. There is an increased likelihood of success when an impartial and experienced mediator facilitates the process.

Why PerformHR?

Workplace mediations are most successful when they are conducted by an impartial mediator with no perceived biases. This is ensured when an external mediator with the right experience is engaged.

PerformHR mediators are experienced in recognising when workplace mediation is likely to be a successful approach. We are committed to assisting the parties to a workplace mediation find a just resolution which aligns with business needs. Hopefully avoiding further, and potentially external complaints.

PerformHR works across various sectors and industries, with employees of diverse backgrounds. We tailor our service to your business, the particular conflict or issue in dispute, and the needs of the parties. This ensures your employees feel heard and understood and demonstrates that you take their concerns seriously. However, it also assists employees in exercising accountability for their actions. In our experience, this leads to greater employee engagement and satisfaction moving forward.

When you engage PerformHR to undertake workplace mediations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or  Newcastle, you are engaging a team of highly trained, senior professionals with significant experience across HR, Risk and Employment Relations.

Our approach

In the case of a workplace mediation, we will:

  • Discuss the matter with the you to determine whether workplace mediation is suitable. We will only proceed with workplace mediation if we believe that the conflict itself is best dealt with via this approach and the parties are likely to reach a successful resolution.
  • Review and assess any agreements, documentary evidence and relevant industrial instruments where applicable.
  • Explain the format, purpose and expectations of mediation to the parties and seek their agreement to participate in the process, noting that withdrawal from the process is allowed at any time.
  • Meet with each party separately, via a means that is comfortable for them, to gain an understanding of their perspective on the conflict and what outcome they would like to achieve. This often involves the mediator setting realistic expectations for the parties and assisting them with communication techniques.
  • Meet with both parties, via a means that is comfortable for them, to facilitate a discussion. The mediator will emphasise the confidential nature of this process and the requirement to always practice respect. The mediator will remain impartial and aim to assist both parties in understanding the other’s viewpoint, rather than labelling either party right or wrong. The mediator will focus on what resolution can be reached to assist the parties in working together respectfully and effectively moving forward.
  • If a just resolution is mutually agreed upon by the parties, set this out in writing and provide it to the parties to sign. With the parties’ consent, this will also be provided to you.
  • Provide a summary of the discussion to you, ensuring confidentiality is maintained.

When should you undertake mediation?

Workplace mediation is appropriate when the conflict does not amount to a serious breach of workplace policies but is instead related to a disagreement or misunderstanding between the parties.

The sooner parties engage in workplace mediation, the more likely a successful resolution will be achieved. Workplace mediation is appropriate where a successful outcome is likely, and this is only the case if the parties are willing to have a respectful discussion about the conflict and make compromises. The longer a dispute remains unresolved, the less likely parties will be able to have a rational conversation with each other, and the more likely the conflict will adversely impact upon the wider workforce. Check our blog for further detail.

Benefits of workplace mediations

Benefits of engaging an independent workplace meditator include:

  • Dealing with underlaying issues before they manifest into something serious
  • Restore productive, healthy and safe working relationships
  • Practical solutions to differences in leadership and work styles
  • Improving communication and working relationships between employees
  • Reduce the likelihood of employee dissatisfaction and complaints
  • Resolve matters in a cost effective manner before they become costly legal disputes

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