When Do Workplace Problems Lead to Mediation?

Many types of conflict and stress in the workplace can result in a situation that might benefit from mediation. Some examples are:

  • Poor communication between stakeholders in a workplace or school community
  • A dispute between staff and administration or owners
  • Conflict & misunderstanding with clients
  • Disputes between colleagues
  • The isolation of one colleague from others
  • A desire management to improve employee performance
  • Low morale and/or productivity
  • Implementation of new policies/procedures 

Why Is Workplace Mediation Successful?

Research has shown that ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) practices such as mediation result in improved workplace environments for reasons such as:

  • Mediation allows all parties in a dispute to have a voice 
  • Mediation allows all stakeholders to communicate on an equal footing
  • It offers a model that is experienced as more fair and less biased
  • Greater compliance since all parties contribute to any final agreement 

Who Hires A Staff Mediator?

  • In government institutions and business, managers usually initiate the process
  • In private schools, usually the owner (or board for non-profit schools) 
  • In public schools, either the principal, the board or union officials. 

What Are The Benefits of Workplace Mediation?

  • Organizations run more smoothly when interpersonal tension is at a minimum
  • Conflict resolution increases productivity and performance standards
  • Client satisfaction rises when improved communication reduces friction
  • Reduced stress in the workplace reduces staff turnover. 

What If A Staff Member Resists Mediation?

  • Mediation, by definition, must be a willing process.  Nobody can be forced into mediation, since it requires active participation from both sides of the table.
  • Once the confidentiality, process and goals of mediation are explained then those who are hesitant often agree to participate 
  • Some individuals prefer negotiation, without the presence of any neutral third party.  In that case we often recommend switching to conflict management coaching so that individual can be privately trained to  negotiate effectively (see tab on Conflict Coaching)