It can be a confusing time. A difficult situation has arisen at work. As a manager or HR professional you may have tried to discuss it with the line manager or other individuals involved.
Maybe there has been an investigation, grievance or disciplinary process. Perhaps members of staff have taken sides and the issue has become entrenched.
Maybe there have been absences from work, time off with stress and/or a loss in productivity as people may refuse to work together.
Maybe other members of staff in the organisation are negatively affected. Maybe there is a long term relationship breakdown which just won't resolve itself?
Maybe you feel frustrated that the people involved just can't get along and sort things out.
Does this sound like your situation?
Let me take the weight off your shoulders with that challenging workplace issue with staff at your organisation. We can discuss different options: facilitated discussions, a workplace mediation or working with each of the employees through coaching. I offer FREE advice about what might be the most appropriate way forward for you considering your current situation.
My services include a facilitated discussion or workplace mediation i.e. obtaining agreements between staff of how to work productively together in the future.
I take a person-centred approach where everyone has a chance to feel truly heard. In order for mediation to be effective, I work closely with the participants by spending time before and after the mediation talking to them about their perceptions, to ensure that they are comfortable and that the agreement is sustained and working.
They draw up and own their action plan and so are in control of the content of their future working arrangements. By valuing their opinions and giving them control, this gives an excellent likelihood of success. I currently have a 100% success rate in getting participants to agree a Working Plan about how to manage their relationship in the future.
Some of the benefits of addressing conflict management include:
A better understanding between employees
Less sickness absence
Reduced risk of employment tribunals
All stakeholders are able to spend more time on the day job rather than the dispute
A less divisive/toxic working environment
The breaking of old patterns of behaviour
Please see webpage for my qualifications.
I also presented on workplace mediation for the CIPD Gloucestershire branch at The University of Gloucestershire in February 2019.
For further information and advice about mediation from the CIPD/ACAS please see their useful guide.
I start by talking to the employer - usually, but not always, HR. This could be over the phone or face-to-face. We decide if mediation is a suitable possible next step.
The participants are then introduced to me, usually via email.
I read relevant paperwork and ensure that I am fully briefed. I then contact the employees involved in the mediation separately to discuss the matter. These meetings can last up to an hour and are undertaken face-to-face or via telephone/Skype/Zoom or MS Teams. I ensure that all participants are willing to engage in the mediation process.
At this point, I focus on their perspectives and issues and answer any questions that they might have. I use coaching techniques to sot hat they are able to open up and so that I am fully briefed.
The mediation meeting can be face-to-face or online. If it's face-to-face it will usually be held at an off-site location so that the participants can be in an environment away from the office where they will not be disturbed. It will also be neutral and help them to talk freely within the context of mutually agreed respectful ground rules.
During the pandemic, online technology means that it can be conducted using the main and 'break-out' meeting rooms.
I am a guide who aims to facilitate the creation of a mutually agreed 'Working Plan'. The content of this is decided by the participants who agree how to work together in the future.
The 'Working Plan' will address the concerns of all participants. It can be an eye-opening, helpful experience for them to understand each other's perspectives.
Truly understanding one another can be a breakthrough in moving disputes forward and good communication is likely to lead to positive outcomes.
The Working Plan is usually shared with HR (with the participants permission) but the content of the mediation is kept confidential.
FOLLOW UP SERVICE
I contact the participants approximately a month after the mediation to check that sustainable success has been achieved. This allows me to check in with everyone and see how the action plan is being implemented.
I can also provide psychometric testing and coaching if required to support the participants after the mediation has concluded.