The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures promotes the use of mediation to resolve conflict in the workplace rather than turning straight to disciplinary or grievance procedures.
Conflict is an inevitable part of workplace dynamics. Disputes between employees can be highly disruptive and may even harm a business’ public image, especially if they lead to an Employment Tribunal. There is a view that mediating before both sides become entrenched in their views through a disciplinary or grievance situation, can help to diffuse an issue and resolve a situation more swiftly and to all parties’ satisfaction.
Mediation is a voluntary but structured process, during which an impartial mediator (usually from outside of the organisation) facilitates communication between those in dispute in order for them to mutually agree on solutions of how to improve their working relationship in the future. This can be done in a variety of ways such as agreeing to work differently, amend communication styles and change reporting lines.
Mediated agreements tend to succeed because the process of mediation allows opportunities to air views in a confidential setting without fear of recrimination. This diffuses situations and sets the scene for being able to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Mediation is most effective when both parties are willing to participate in discussions that aim to resolve the dispute. A mediator seeks to provide an informal, quick solution to workplace conflict and can be used at any stage.
In the workplace, mediation offers both the employer and the employee, the choice to try something that has a high chance of a positive outcome before both sides become entrenched in complex and time-consuming formal action around disciplinary and grievance.
Contact 121 HR Solutions to discuss how we can facilitate mediation in your workplace on 0800 995 121.