Workplace Mediation

Feel the Power of Workplace Mediation

Humans are hard-wired for conflict…they’re also equipped to resolve it peacefully…

At Northern Frontiers our nationally accredited Workplace Mediators use the power of conversation to connect people through active listening, increased awareness of each other’s needs and joint problem-solving.

Workplace Conflict Is Common And Not Always A Bad Thing…

Because we’re social creatures we need interaction with other people – and in the workplace the closer we work with others, the more likely we are to experience disagreement. There are basically two kinds of workplace conflict – Healthy and Unhealthy. It’s important for supervisors and managers to recognise the difference.

Unhealthy Conflict

is typically born out of a need to win or be right. It’s ego-driven and position-based and is focused on laying blame as opposed to identifying causal factors or improving organisational productivity. Staff are distracted from their core business and morale  suffers. Valuable resources are consumed with no positive outcome – problems remain unresolved and colleagues experience ongoing emotional drain and tension. The organisation loses.

Healthy Conflict

involves out-of-the-box thinking, discussion and debate. Disputants share a desire to produce a better product or arrive at a better outcome and are open to doing things differently. They work together to find the most appropriate solution and are not afraid to apologise or modify unhelpful behaviours.

Healthy workplace conflict is not ego-driven – its focus is on the issues at hand as opposed to the personal needs/agenda of any individual. It is devoid of personal attacks. Working relationships are therefore protected and strengthened through mutual respect and active listening…everyone stands to benefit through organisational improvement.

Managing Conflict

If you’re a supervisor or manager the first step in managing conflict is to accept its inevitability as part of your role because leadership and conflict are entwined. Look at it as a professional development challenge. The first steps in resolving conflict are understanding its cause and adopting appropriate resolution strategies.

What Is Workplace Mediation?

Workplace Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution process managed by an impartial mediator who is external to the organisation. It involves a balanced discussion process in which everyone has a voice. The goal of mediation is to bring people together to explore their issues and brainstorm solutions in a structured way . The Mediator acts as a process guide and sounding board for participants and has no investigative or decision-making power. Workplace Mediation calls for respectful communication and mutual commitment to resolving the dispute. Determining who is right or wrong is not a goal of mediation. The self-determining nature of decisions made in mediation tends to motivate people towards sustained compliance in a way that decisions imposed via formal disciplinary processes may not.

Types Of Disputes That May Be Suitable For Workplace Mediation

Misunderstandings between individuals from all levels of the organisation

Differing expectations due to conflicting values, beliefs or opinions

Personality differences

Workload distribution

Organisational communication

Staff selection or recruitment processes

Work performance

Leadership style

Organisational planning

Role distinction

Change or restructuring

Some allegations of abuse

  • Mediation offers an informal, cost-effective way of settling disputes
  • Participants are encouraged to take full responsibility for their actions.
  • The focus is on how people interact as opposed to who is right or wrong
  • The mediation process serves as a guide for improved problem-solving
  • Conflict may be ‘nipped in the bud’ before it escalates
  • Mediation offers an appealing alternative to formal disciplinary action
  • Solutions are generated by participants which means people are more likely to take ownership and comply with any agreement made
  • It’s an empowering process
  • Discussion is guided by the Mediator to ensure respectful, balanced communication between participants
  • Workplace productivity can quickly be restored, relationships healed and work lives enriched
  • Mediation offers a quick turnaround and reduces the likelihood of employees making an external complaint or taking legal action

Step 1

Intake and Assessment – Mediator meets privately with the referee to determine whether the matter is appropriate for mediation.

Step 2

Mediator meets individually with each participant and listens to their viewpoint. The mediation process is outlined along with obligations of the Mediator and participants.

Step 3

Mediator facilitates a meeting of disputants and invites them to share their views/concerns around the issue/s and brainstorm possible solutions. Mediator acts as a sounding board for participants, offers suggestions and highlights areas of agreement or mutual benefit. The focus is restoring working relationships,moving forward in unity and resisting the temptation to lay blame or be right.

Step 4

A mutually acceptable solution may be identified and agreement reached.

Step 5

Mediator undertakes follow up as agreed with employer.

The Mediator will encourage agreement but will not enforce it. This is because people tend to buck against decisions that are imposed on them not by them. Mediation is all about people generating their own solutions and jointly selecting that which they can live with. Even when agreement is not reached, the balanced structure of communication during mediation tends to improve working relationships (shared feelings and concerns bond people) and may serve as a guide to future dispute resolution.

Mediation is a viable dispute resolution option under the following conditions: when:

  • Participants are willing to talk and freely consent to mediation
  • Issue/s raised do not involve serious allegations requiring legal action or a more formal process such as workplace investigation
  • Issues raised relate to broader organisational issues more suited to a workplace review process
  • Participants are willing to and capable of freely articulating their concerns/needs/position
  • There is no significant variance in the negotiating power of disputants
  • Participants have the capacity and willingness to self-reflect and modify behaviours that are not conducive to resolution
  • Participants are open to new possibilities or different ways of doing things
  • The level of conflict is low-moderate – there is no risk to personal safety
  • Participants agree to maintain confidentiality
  • Participants are invested in resolving the dispute
  • The organisation is prepared to provide ongoing support for any agreement made.

Workplace Mediation has long been used by people to resolve disputes. In more recent times it has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity and is viewed by many as the safe, gentle option for managing workplace conflict.

Out of Hours Appointments:

In addition to normal business hours 7.30am – 5.00pm weekdays, we offer weekend appointments on availability – which means there’s no need to disrupt your work schedule.

Out of hours appointments tend to fill fast so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Simply call 1300 90 81 70 or email: reception@northernfrontiers.com.au

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Location

75 Digger St, Cairns North QLD 4870

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Opening Hours

Mon-Fri  - 7:30 am – 4:00 pm

Saturday - (Closed)

Sunday - From 8:30 am