Workplace Mediation

Resolving conflict and reaching resolution in a structured, cost-effective way.

Conflict at work can have a hugely negative impact on individuals and the bottom line.

The CBI estimates that conflict costs UK business £33 billion per year, taking up 20 percent of leadership time and potentially losing up to 370 million working days. Recent research by Oxford Economics estimates the overall cost of replacing just one new member of staff can be up to £30,000*.

Conflict at work can take many forms; it might be an individual with a grievance, a problem between an employee and a manager or conflict between two co-workers. Any of these situations can result in a demotivated workforce and reduced productivity which can prove costly to a business.

Workplace mediation can be a very cost-effective way to defuse conflict and reach a resolution.

At direction we offer a bespoke workplace mediation service which can bypass many of the other costly, time-consuming and confrontational routes to resolution – bringing about a solution which can be agreed upon by all.

What is workplace mediation?

Workplace mediation is a structured, confidential process where an impartial mediator (or mediators) facilitates communication between those in dispute, in order for them to come up with mutually-agreed solutions on how to improve their working relationship in the future.

It is voluntary, and all parties have to agree to take part before the mediation can proceed. It is important that everyone comes to the table in good faith, with a will to settle the dispute and resolve any differences. This means that issues and ideas for agreement and resolution of the conflict can be discussed without fear of them being used against either party in the future.

What is the role of the mediator?

Mediators are responsible for facilitating and determining the procedure for the workplace mediation. They have no legal power, do not offer advice, impose solutions or judge the situation. This makes workplace mediation very different from processes such as advocacy, counselling, arbitration or advice giving.

The direction approach

The process of workplace mediation very much depends on the individual organisation’s situation and requirements, and at direction we offer a flexible approach to suit your circumstances.

In the first instance, one of our qualified mediators will meet individually with the key persons involved, to gain a rounded understanding of the situation and recommend a way forward.

The number and length of sessions will depend on the individual situation and how many employees are involved. A one-to-one meeting will take place between the mediator and each employee prior to any group facilitation.

Once the mediation is complete and an agreement has been reached between all parties involved, it is the responsibility of the organisation to ensure that it is implemented. The mediator will make contact with all individuals that are involved, on a confidential basis, approximately three months later to ensure that the agreement has been effective.

On the rare occasion that an agreement has not worked, a discussion will take place between the organisation and the mediator to decide on an appropriate way forward.

How can mediation benefit me?

Mediation is often the fastest and most effective way to deal with conflict in the workplace. Having a happy and productive workforce not only saves time and money but also shows that you want to invest in the wellbeing of your employees.

Some of the financial and organisational costs that can be avoided are:

  • Time-consuming and costly formal procedures such as grievances and employment tribunals.
  • Negative impacts on employee health, resulting in time off and sickness absence
  • Reduced staff morale, leading to lower productivity.
  • Staff turnover costs associated with re-recruitment and re-training when those affected by the conflict leave the organisation.*

*Research carried out by Oxford Economics revealed the cost of replacing just one new member of staff can be up to £30,000. The two main factors being the operational costs of recruitment (advertising, agency fees, time spent interviewing and training) but also the loss of output as on average it can take a new employee 28 weeks to reach optimum productivity.

“the organisation now has a satisfactory outcome to the problem. direction were instrumental in that process of change”

Senior Manager Human Resource

direction has consistently provided professional and accessible services to our staff and we’ve had nothing but positive feedback.”

HR Manager, Sense Scotland