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Five things you need to know about workplace mediation

Ever had a disagreement with a colleague that upset you, made you feel bad, affected your work or made you so angry you thought about making a formal complaint? Did you sort it out? Or is it still there, unresolved and niggling away?

Mediation could help

Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process that can help resolve disputes fairly in a way that is agreed by everyone. Its benefits include:

  • Cost effectiveness
  • Speed
  • Simplicity
  • Offering an alternative solution

Thinking about trying it? Here are five things you should know:

  1. There’s no bad time to use mediation

Mediation can be used at any stage of a dispute if both parties are willing to try it. It can help nip problems in the bud if used early. It works during formal processes if those involved want to pause and try to resolve things informally. And mediation can help restore relationships after a dispute.

  1. You get out what you put in

The more effort you put in, the better the results. Mediation takes place in a safe environment, where you are encouraged to be honest about what’s bothering you, how it affects you and how you’d like things to be different. The more open you are, the more likely it is you’ll be able to resolve the problem.

  1. It’s not a soft option

Mediation is usually a lot less stressful than formal processes but it’s no soft option. The mediator facilitates the conversation but participants control the outcome. That means being honest, saying what’s on your mind, talking about the working relationship and how you feel about it. That can be hard.

  1. It isn’t about winning, losing or blame

Formal processes create winners and losers and perpetuate bad feeling. Mediation is non-judgemental and aims to create win/win outcomes by getting people to work together to find solutions and restore relationships.

  1. Working relationships improve

Not all mediations result in agreement but in most cases mediation works and people feel better having tried to resolve the problem. The experience can increase self-awareness, clear up misunderstandings and help create a happier workplace.