Workplace Mediation – How Does it Work?
Workplace Mediation can take place at any point when there is conflict. The only condition is that both the parties involved in the dispute want to fix things and agree to mediation. Before anything happens, the mediator will receive a brief outline of the situation.
One to One meetings
As long as all those involved agree then the start of the process involves the mediator having a one to one meeting with each of individuals. The purpose of the meetings is to give the individual a chance to speak openly and freely with the mediator. The meetings are confidential. There does not always have to be just the one meeting; there could be more. Equally, the meetings may not always be in person; they could be over the telephone. These meetings provide the mediator with a chance to find out what lies at the heart of the dispute.
Assuming everyone agrees that there should be a joint meeting, this is facilitated by the mediator. It takes place some days after the one to one meetings. What happens at the joint meeting is that the mediator checks that everyone understands and accepts the ground rules. They are:
- Confidentiality – everything said in the meeting remains confidential. The only time when the sharing of information might happen is if everybody agrees. What they share is usually just the action points or a summary of the discussions with the employer.
- Voluntary – either party is free to stop the mediation. Mediation is voluntary, so neither side is forced to attend.
- Participation – it is important that those involved listen to the other person. They also need to engage actively in talking about the situation and how they see improvement being made.
- Talking – in any meeting the talking should be between the participants. It should not be just with the mediator or referring to each other as he or she.
If everyone is happy with the ground rules what happens next is that both participants will each take a few minutes to make an opening statement about what he or she believe the current situation is. Moving on from there the meeting will typically include talking about:
- Thinking about what the impact has been that has meant the need for mediation and identifying what the issues are that need resolution.
- Moving the focus to look at what the future might be and what changes need to be made to get there.
- Whether they can agree on any action points?
- How will they review progress?