If left to escalate, poor interpersonal communication skills and conflict can damage workplace morale, reduce productivity, increase absenteeism, and disrupt team work. Our "hands-on" customized case studies and group work allow employees to practise techniques for managing conflict. Our workshops provide orientation on Human Rights legislation, Health and Safety legislation and your organization's harassment and interpersonal conduct policies and procedures.
When employee conflicts do arise in the normal course of work or in the aftermath of disruptive incidents, Hertzberger HR Consulting provides third party mediation services to assist employees in working through their differences.
The transformative mediation model is used to focus on the relationship between the employees. This process empowers each party to express herself/ himself and to re-establish their connection with the other person. The premise is that, once the parties’ interests are clarified and the relationship is sorted out, the “issues” or “positions” tend to resolve themselves.
Steps in Mediation:
- Mark contacts each person by phone, introduces himself, and asks to meet individually. It is explained that this initial meeting is confidential and that there is no obligation to proceed further if they are not comfortable with the process.
- If there is agreement, Mark meets with each person to:
- hear their story (history of the relationship)
- hear what their needs are
- hear their concerns or fears
- explain the mediation process and the role of the mediator
- answer any questions about the process
- offer mediation, if appropriate
- If the parties agree to mediation, Mark arranges to meet together offsite with both individuals. At the beginning of the meeting, ground rules for discussion are agreed upon. Each individual then has the opportunity to describe the situation from their own perspective and to hear and understand the other person. Options for resolving the situation are identified and, with sincere effort on everyone’s part, a solution may be reached.
- Sometimes the parties agree that additional meetings are necessary to reach resolution.
Mark’s Role as Mediator:
It is explained to participants that the mediator’s role is to:
- facilitate the communication process (not to determine right from wrong).
- assist the parties to clarify their needs and understand one another
- assist them in exploring options for resolution (not to provide solutions.)
Employees involved in mediation require assurance that confidentiality will be maintained. If they believe that the content of their sessions may be relayed to third parties, they are unlikely to participate openly and fully in the process.
Often, however, employers request a progress report to determine if further intervention is needed. If this is the case, participants should be advised by the employer at the beginning of the process. It is recommended that the content of any mediation report be limited to answering the following general questions:
- Did both parties attend the meeting and participate in the discussion?
- Was a solution agreed upon?
- Are additional meetings required?
- Is there anything the employer can do to facilitate the agreed-upon solution?
During their sessions, participants will sometimes agree that certain information needs to be shared with the employer and request that the mediator convey these items. These may include questions about role clarity, work schedules, division of workload or other factors affecting the working relationship.