Using Workplace Mediation Services

Dr. Purushothaman
December 6, 2013

Unnecessary conflict in the workplace decreases productivity, reduces peace of mind, and can lead to some serious health risks for both employers and employees. While conflict is a natural part of working together with people who have different work styles or behavioral habits, its damaging effects can be mitigated by independent mediation services.

Independent mediation may be necessary if employees feel unfairly treated or if business HR policies seem inadequate to addressing work-related concerns.

Mediation and Impartiality

In general, there are two broad categories of workplace mediation:

1. Mediation between equals
2. Mediation between a superior and inferior

Of course, from those two categories there can be many different individual situations such as co-worker disputes, disputes between separate managers, disputes between management and co-workers, disputes between workers across departments, and more. However, when looking at a workplace conflict, one of the main points you want to consider is whether an in-house service can manage the conflict.

If a conflict is between a superior and inferior, there will always be tension between both parties. The inferior may distrust the superior due to a belief that the superior has more influence over the outcome of the process. This supposition may not be wrong. Bringing in a third-party workplace mediator and having all sides agree to abide by the mediator's ruling and suggestion can go a long way toward bring a sense of peace back to the office.

Even if a conflict is between equals in the workplace, it is difficult to guarantee a completely impartial conflict resolution. Employees may distrust the fairness of the process due to in-house HR representatives being more partial to one side or the other. A third-party mediator whom neither party knows can help to ease worries of bias.

How Mediation Works

The point of any mediation session is for all sides to come out satisfied. The process involves a mediator listening to both sides of an argument and getting at the core of what each person needs. The mediator will then open up a dialogue and together, the three parties will come to a creative solution that meets the needs of each party. If needs are mutually exclusive, the mediator will not move on until each party sees that mutual exclusivity and can come to a workable compromise based on a shared goal, i.e. the overall success of the company.

Mediation providers offer a low-stress, unofficial way to resolve disputes in the workplace. A mediation session can help employees rebuild trust and develop an environment where healthy working relationships can thrive.

Many organizations have found mediation to be an incredibly cost-effective tool to improve workplace productivity. When people listen to one another in an independently-managed conflict resolution space, the results can be immeasurably transformative.

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