National trends over the last two years have seen an upsurge in the use of workplace mediation by companies as a means of achieving a speedy and cost-effective resolution of conflicts in the workplace, but do you know what happens in mediation, why it wor...
When people close their front door in the morning and think they have left their families behind them for a simpler life at work, they are often mistaken. Our families, particularly our earliest relationships, live inside our minds and find their
Richard Boyd's insight:
An interesting insight into the impact of family dynamics on workplace relationships.
This article is the result of switching seats – moving from practitioner to party. Every mediation service I've worked for sends out feedback forms. Sometimes immediately after sessions, sometimes a few weeks later. This experience made me question the importance of mediation evaluation.
For some people who come to mediation for the first time, either as a client or as someone wanting to train in mediation skills there can be a sense of surprise when they find out that Mediators don't give advice, suggestions or opinions. There are many reasons why this is so and I want to outline
Presenting recently the results of the study on ‘Rebooting’ the Mediation Directive, Giuseppe de Palo talked about the “European Union mediation paradox” – the existence of a “highly acclaimed, efficient, effective process that very few people use”, in his own words – and the need of “rebooting” the implementation of mediation process in the EU in the light of the limited effects of current legislation upon the number of civil cases mediated.
Gold Acorn Consulting provides an external, entrepreneurial viewpoint on change, sets up HR processes to get employees engaged and addresses conflict.
Richard Boyd's insight:
"Five years ago mediation of workplace conflict was fairly uncommon and the reserve of liberal “touchy-feely” organisations. Today many organisations are putting it at the core of their conflict resolution strategy, prior to resorting to formal grievance or disciplinary procedures. It is part of the development of a more adult relationship between employers and employee in which both sides acknowledge any unmet needs.
Recent developments include Royal Mail appointing an independent mediation partner, The TCM Group to embed mediation in their organisation with potentially far reaching cultural changes. This has received the backing of the Communication Workers Union and Unite. There have been a number of other high profile employers appointing mediation partners in an attempt to bring some dynamism and a sense of fairness back into the workplace.
So while I would not want to see employers, or employees get away with abusive behaviour, I am in favour of a move away from the adversarial win-lose model of dispute resolution we have had for so long. There is a clear need for us all to find a less adversarial approach to resolving conflict and learn to genuinely listen to each other. Having worked as a mediator I have seen so many polarised disputes occur through people's total blindness to another's position. Once the individuals actually hear and relate to each other, an alchemy often occurs. I believe that only when such attempts have failed or been rejected should the tribunals get involved. It's going to be an interesting year seeing if those involved in conflict feel justice is being served."
Side note: Excellent image to illustrate metaphor!
Attendees at Professor Paul Latreille's workshop at the recent East of England Acas conference were given a handset for voting - reminiscent of the ones used by the audience in the TV show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? But the issue in question at the workshop wasn't geography, science, history or popular culture. It was the audience's experience of conflict at work, and what they perceive as the solutions.
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