Conflict, dispute, or tension can arise from time to time within the workplace. When it does, it can often leave employers and/or managers unsure of what to do. Employers have a duty of care to address any issues that may impact negatively on any of their employees. They also have a duty to act when an issue is brought to their attention. The ‘work it out among yourselves’ is not the answer or an attitude any employer or manager should adopt. Inaction can often have far worse consequences for companies in the longer term. Employers who might get themselves directly involved in trying to resolve matters may run the risk of being accused of bias, being unfair or even being discriminatory should they attempt to resolve things, make changes, or offer solutions. This approach can also have costly legal consequences, regardless of how long an employee has been part of the company. Inaction, or poor handling of a situation may also result in an unwanted resignation, or a constructive dismissal case.

Professional Independent Workplace Mediation is an offering that can be made to employees/parties in certain circumstances where conflict or disagreement has arisen, where a breakdown in communication has occurred, or as part of a grievance process. Here are some points to consider on the benefits of Mediation:

  1. Mediation can often save employers the cost and time involved in pursuing formal processes (such as investigation and discipline).
  2. Mediation statistically has an 80% success rate in reaching resolution and/or agreement among parties.
  3. Often, Professional Mediation can form part of a grievance policy, or avoid dispute or conflict from escalating to a more serious point (for example, a legal claim).
  4. Mediation is a voluntary process, and offers employees/colleagues a safe, impartial, confidential space within which to address conflict, differences, or complaints in a calm, non-judgemental and independently facilitated manner.
  5. The benefit of outsourcing Mediation is that you can offer a fully accredited and experienced professional, who is removed from the company, to facilitate the session. A professional Mediator will ensure that there is balanced, equal opportunity for individuals to explore the issue and be supported in communicating their own perspectives.

Mediation can result in the signing off on an independently witnessed Memorandum of Understanding. Contrary to misconception, a written and co-signed Mediation Agreement/Settlement, is legally binding.

Jennifer Lee, Manager of Canavan Byrne and CB Associates, specialises in HR and workplace supports. She is a fully certified professional Mediator with extensive experience in facilitation and workplace conflict resolution. Jennifer has been manager with Canavan Byrne; CB Associates for almost 2 years. Before this, she was self-employed, leading a team of 11, since 2008.

Call us now on 01 6235908 to book a preliminary consultation (approx. 20/30 mins- with no charge for a prelim enquiry) with Jennifer should you wish to offer and engage with Professional Mediation services. We offer competitive hourly rates and travel costs.