Despite best HR efforts to avoid conflict among employees, some people are just prone to dispute and can have a negative impact on the workplace environment. The best way to dissolve the situation is through mediation. When it comes to workplace mediation, many questions arise in HR’s mind. So here is a list of some questions that are commonly asked.

  1. Is mediation confidential?

Mediation is an entirely confidential process. Nothing said or agreed in mediation can be held up in the court as evidence. Having said that, in certain cases, a mediation report may be given to the HR/Line manager, as they need to know what the participants have agreed upon.

  1. What if someone is reluctant to engage?

    or Can I be forced into mediation at work?

Circumstances like this are normal to appear where the employees are reluctant and do not want to mediate. Mostly it can be just due to some myths around mediation or hesitation about the process, or the employees may have responses such as:

  • What’s the point? It’s just a new-age fad.
  • I don’t have time to mediate.
  • He’s just getting back at me because I gave him a bad performance review.

Mediation is a voluntary process, hence make sure the participants understand the importance of it and attend mediation with an open mind as it is crucial to resolve the matters peacefully.

We can talk someone into mediation by:

  • Explaining the importance of mediation and how it can benefit them.
  • Discuss the alternatives to mediation with them. For illustration, they may want to escalate the issue to senior, but it may only lead to damage to both parties in the end. Make them realise that mediation will be an effective and easy solution.
  • Understand what holds them back from going through mediation and addressing those problems.

More the participants’ mind is at ease, it’s more likely that they take mediation as a solution and discuss the matters openly and come to a resolution.

  1. What if they don’t reach a decision?

In mediation, no one is obligated to comply with anything; parties only agree based on their own free choice and desire. Most of the time it means giving up something, to achieve a larger goal. By agreeing to mediate, you’ve already made a commitment to work together to find a solution. This is also one of the major reasons for our 95% of success rate in workplace mediation.

A facilitative mediator can use his/her skills such as focussing on positive progress, intervening at the appropriate time, throwing light on different options, and taking appropriate breaks for reflection and self-analysis. All of these can help the participants to come to a solution.

Unfortunately, if none of these works the mediation can be terminated, either temporarily or permanently. Even if the mediation is halted the parties leave with a better understanding of the others’ situation and the satisfaction of knowing that they have tried to resolve the dispute and that there will be fewer arguments in the future.

  1. What if they don’t stick to commitment?

As mediation is a non-binding process, this concern may occur in many people’s minds, since individuals have a natural predisposition to care less about things that aren’t forced upon them.

Though this is true, the whole purpose of mediation is more of building a relationship between the parties and trying to focus on a common goal which is the company growth rather than personal differences.

We can also make the mediation foolproof by asking both parties what they want to agree on in the future and how they want to proceed if the agreement is breached. This may entail elevating the problem to a higher authority or meeting with senior management, which can lead to some serious consequences.

Breaching of the agreement cannot be stopped, but the whole point of mediation is to understand each other’s point of view, focus on a larger goal and agree on a way forward.

  1. Is it necessary for the mediator to have prior knowledge of the industry?

Workplace mediation is a process that involves resolving a dispute between two individuals/parties arising from a relationship breakdown. It shouldn’t be a BIG ISSUE if the mediator cannot understand the acronyms of the industry.

The mediator’s primary goal will be to fix relationship issues rather than getting bogged down in industry jargon. In general, finding a mediator with good mediation expertise is preferable to finding someone with industry knowledge but limited mediation experience.

  1. How long does mediation take?

Usually, workplace mediation can take anywhere between half a day to a full day depending on the matters to be resolved. Occasionally for complicated matters, maybe another appointment may be needed. Although the mediator has control over the process, the complications of the matter, the people’s willingness to agree, forget the past and move forward, and comprehend the perspectives of others, can vary.

Generally, workplace mediation can take a full day.

  1. Do we need an external mediator?

Mediating conflict in the workplace can get tricky at times. Sometimes, an in-house mediator can come across as partial because they share the same work environment and colleagues. An external mediator will be seen as a completely unbiased person.

  1. When mediation is not appropriate?

In the case of:

  • Criminal conduct where a judgement concerning right or wrong is required.
  • Discrimination or harassment complaints, where the claim is severe and needs to be legally addressed.
  • A person is suffering from mental health conditions.

Under these circumstances, it is apparent that the parties cannot mediate.

  1. Who can attend a mediation?

Normally, the mediation process will involve just two people and the mediator, but occasionally there can be several people involved if it has been agreed upon by both the parties.

Our mediators are usually happy to discuss potential instances with you and give you their opinion on whether mediation is likely to be beneficial.

You can make an informed decision about mediation now that most of your questions have been answered.

Call us at 0330-390-3999 or visit here  to schedule a free initial consultation and get your remaining questions answered.