Many people think mediation is simply an alternative to a legal suit, but it can be much more. It can create a more empowered and productive workplace environment. The best time to learn mediation techniques and have a mediation plan is before you actually need it!
Randolph Lowry, who has been at the forefront of the dispute resolution movement in the U.S. said in an interview with Businessweek:
“It's wise to start with a time when there isn't conflict and think about how your organization is going to deal with conflict when it arises. Any good business, even a very small business, can set up processes they're going to use with customers who are dissatisfied or employees who think they weren't treated fairly.”
As a business leader, it’s important to be informed about the potential of having mediation services as an integral part of your team. Not only so you’re ready if a conflict brews and escalates, but also to get a competitive edge with a highly-effective workforce.
What You May Not Know - But Should - About Mediation
Parties feel more comfortable expressing their viewpoints honestly. Being able to openly express themselves without fear of criticism or reprisal allows everyone involved to be heard.
The cost is less than legal proceedings could be. Unresolved disputes can get so entrenched that court is the only solution; mediation can resolve the dispute before it goes that far. The costs are not only monetary. Feelings, trust and goodwill are also kept intact, or even created where they didn’t exist before.
Resolution is often quicker. Court cases can draw out into months and even years. A mediation session can often have the matter solved within days, reducing workplace disruption.
Confidentiality is maintained for both employees and the company. Mediation is a private and internal matter which doesn't subject any of the parties to the public view that could have a negative effect on the company’s reputation, an employee’s professional future, or investor confidence.
Disputes based on allegations have a greater chance to be resolved by trained expert facilitation. Issues such as bullying, harassment or feeling discriminated against can arise without actual evidence to show. Mediation uncovers the ‘why’ behind the allegations to get to the truth of what happened, and makes recommendations to management as to next steps.
Inspires confidence in being able to be heard impartially. With an outside party involved, nobody feels he or she may be subject to favoritism or ignored.
Offers an outside view of the situation. When emotions are running high, as they are in most conflicts, nobody is seeing clearly. An outside observer will see things that those close to the situation miss.
Allows all parties to feel they have some control of the situation. Everyone involved has an equal chance to have their say, they can stay or leave, and they feel more like they are having a discussion than being put on trial.
Mediation can be used for a wide variety of situations. These include, but are not limited to:
Employee Personality Conflict/Competitiveness
Mediation can save not only relationships within a company, but the company itself. The best time to initiate a mediation system is before conflict arises. Never believe that conflict will not be an issue because when two or more people interact, there is always a chance of conflict. A mediation mindset and professional support can be a crucial asset to business success. I invite you to learn more about how mediation works by clicking here.