By dealing with conflicts as early as possible, mediation and Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes can assist teams and individuals to discuss and resolve issues that have the potential to escalate into disputes and disrupt work teams and the organisation as a whole.

Working with teams to identify common values, goals and agreed behaviours, can assist in team building and help in addressing underlying conflicts and tensions.

Workplace mediation can help restore and preserve working relationships. Mediation allows for direct discussion between people in conflict, and a mediator assists both parties to search for practical solutions to their problems. Mediation assists the parties to identify their underlying interests and needs, rather than remaining stuck in a certain position.

A mediator has no decision-making power, and their skill lies in assisting people in conflict to communicate with each other in a way that they can identify the issues that are contributing to the conflict, and then begin to problem-solve and reach mutually acceptable solutions with a future focus.

Mediation is a voluntary process. All participants must be willing to accept the assistance of the mediator if he or she is to help them resolve their differences. No one can be forced into mediation.

All mediation begins with a thorough assessment of the parties and their issues to ensure that the conflict is suitable for mediation and does not require a different approach.

Moira has developed a model of mediation specifically for complaints of mild  workplace bullying. Many bullying complaints, and serious complaints of bullying are not suitable for mediation, but mild cases of alleged bullying where there have been no previous allegations, and where both parties would like to resolve the conflict together may be suitable. This model is respectful of the needs of the complainant and the respondent. While providing a way for them to resolve the issues, discuss the impact of the alleged behaviour, it helps them both to collaborate in identifying factors in the organisation that may have contributed to the conflict in which they find themselves. With their permission, these factors are discussed with HR so they can be addressed in order to prevent similar conflicts from arising. Agreements for future behaviours can be developed with the parties and they can be held accountable for any breaches.

A restorative mediation can also occur after an investigation in order to help the parties focus on how they are going to work together in the future, and provide an opportunity for them to discuss and work though the issues and the impact of the investigation process. A mediation offers opportunities for apology, explanation and expression of feelings in a safe and structured environment. This is often something that does not happen in an investigation  (which focuses on facts, and whether a complaint can be substantiated), but is something that both parties often would like to occur.

It is worth trying workplace mediation to resolve conflicts so contact Aboto for a mediator to assist you.