Mediation is an informal approach to dispute resolution. It can be used in an attempt to resolve a vast range of differences. In our experience, mediation is most effective when introduced at the initial phase of disagreements, however, it can also be availed of later in the process – after Tribunal proceedings have concluded, for instance. At this stage mediation could assist in repairing the relationship between the parties that have been in conflict.
When we are engaged by a Company to perform mediation, an unbiased facilitator assists the two parties to a dispute in reaching an agreement by listening to and understanding both sides to the story. The purpose of a skilled mediator is to encourage the parties to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution. Our role as a neutral third party is not to judge or to determine who is at fault but, instead, to enable the meaningful exchange of information between parties with an ultimate goal of resolving the conflict.
The HR Company mediator will not determine the outcome – this should come from the disputing parties. Mediation is morally binding but normally does not carry any legal status.
There is usually one mediator or two co-mediators. One significant advantage of mediation is that it tends to be far less of a financial burden when compared to formal proceedings. Both parties to a dispute are encouraged by The HR Company’s skilled mediator to talk very honestly and openly during the process and, as a consequence of that, mediation can assist in the discovery and resolution of the root cause of the conflict that exists in the workplace and can prevent the same situation from arising in the future. This is less likely to be the case in a Tribunal type scenario.
Mediation is not always a suitable dispute resolution method, however, if it is determined that it is appropriate then it can involve either an internal scheme or an external provider like The HR Company. Internal schemes mainly exist in larger organisations. During mediation The HR Company’s neutral mediator chairs the process which helps to dispel tension that may have built up between disputing parties. It is vital that levels of tension in the workplace are minimal especially where the parties are expected to continue to work together. The process can take an entire day or more. Either way the process is more cost effective and far less time consuming than going through the courts.
Mediation is beneficial because it is a voluntary non-confrontational process – both parties will be more likely to co-operate as neither is obliged to be involved in the process.