It’s important to understand that mediation is totally voluntary. Without the cooperation of those in conflict, the process can’t even begin to take place, let alone succeed.
Both parties are free to withdraw at any time however, they should enter the process with full agreement, total engagement and a genuine willingness to try to reach a resolution.
Workplace conflict mediation is confidential and operates on a ‘without prejudice’ basis which means, if the issues remain unresolved or conflicts re- surface, it cannot be brought into grievance, disciplinary or legal proceedings at a later date.
The process is set out in 2 stages.
The first involves individual meetings between each conflicting party and the Mediator. It is a tried and tested approach that aims to get each party to do the following:
- Share their personal story about their conflict experience in a safe, confidential environment with a trained, qualified and non-judgmental professional who will not give opinions or take sides;
- Explore with each person, the fundamentals to resolving the conflict;
- Through a process of open and reflective questioning by the Mediator, each person is encouraged to try to see things from the other’s perspective – regardless of whether they agree with where the other person is coming from;
- Agree, with both sides, the key issues that need communicating and set ground rules for how they will handle themselves in the second stage of the process.
The second stage is a joint meeting between the parties, which is closely facilitated by the mediator. In this stage the mediator will:
- Invite each party to share how they feel, and discuss what they would like to resolve with the other party;
- Support each person to get their views heard;
- Use reflective questioning to help promote quality explanations communicated between both parties;
- Support situations of heightened emotion to allow for time out and calming down;
- Help the parties build an action plan to ensure resolution happens, and agree a mutually acceptable way of working in the future.