“This article has been produced by an independent contributor and does not reflect the views and opinions of the Immediation team or the brand as a whole.”
Having a workplace where everyone gets along is optimal for work productivity and efficiency. But alas, despite having a thorough hiring process that aims to employ like minded individuals, it is virtually impossible to predict how workers will get along.
Workplace conflicts are inevitable, with some being minor issues that can easily be resolved to more severe conflicts with potential to disrupt entire departments.
As a business owner, there is a need to step in when workplace conflicts are intense to avoid things getting worse. To maintain a healthy professional relationship, it is advised to engage an expert mediator who will help navigate the dispute resolution process in a positive manner for all parties.
Mediation stands out from all other forms of conflict resolution for several reasons. The flexible nature of mediation allows parties to come up with creative solutions that would not otherwise work in other alternative dispute resolution methods as well as litigation. The structure of having an impartial mediator working to help both parties encourages cooperation as opposed to being adversarial. Mediation is also voluntary which means that the act of engaging in mediation implies that both parties want to resolve the workplace conflict but may not necessarily know how to.
The effectiveness of mediation in resolving employee disputes is high. A survey conducted by GFK NOP of managers in 500 small medium enterprises revealed that 99% of those who had used mediation agreed it worked effectively in resolving workplace issues.
Here are some tips on how mediation can help you resolve disputes between your employees.
An early start
The moment you are aware of things heating up in the workplace, it’s time to take action and get involved. The longer you wait, the deeper the resentment between colleagues may grow. When getting involved, make it clear to all employees that you are a neutral party to the dispute and are there to help them resolve their issues.
Find out what happened
The only way to effectively resolve a workplace conflict is to find out all the details of what happened. The best way to do this is through open ended questions that encourage descriptive answers. Listen attentively to their answers and pay attention to any inconsistencies or common ground as it will help reveal the truth of what happened.
An agreement is necessary for any resolution to come from mediation. Employees involved in a dispute may feel overwhelmed by their emotions which may lead to being blindsided from the other side of the story. Encouraging employees to see the other point of view can help them work closer to understanding the conflict better and finding a way to resolve it amicably.
Make no room for criticism
For mediation to work, you have to outlaw criticism. Leaving these emotions outside the mediation will help all parties focus on the issues at hand which enables better resolutions to be formed.
Reconcile and move forward
When both sides have expressed themselves thoroughly, it’s time to problem solve through creativity and an open mind. Brainstorming ideas about what both sides would like along with ways to prevent similar conflicts from happening in future will prove useful. Ideas could include early detection of an issue and discussing it with you at first instance, or even something as simple as providing an honest, open line of communication during staff meetings.
To ensure an amicable mediation process, it is always advised to engage a professional mediator to help resolve employee disputes.