Workplace Mediation: How does it work?

What is workplace mediation?

A mediation is essentially a structured conversation facilitated by a professional mediator aiming to resolve a dispute between two or more parties in a workplace.

The mediator is an impartial facilitator who assists the conversation to happen fairly and constructively and create a dialogue so that the parties involved can come up with their own agreements.

Mediation occurs in different contexts so there are variations but typically mediation is a confidential and voluntary process and the final agreements are the only outcomes that might be revealed from the process.

What is the role of the mediator?

In a workplace context a mediator will do the following:

Before the mediation:

  • Liaise back and forward between parties and/or with the Human Resources Department to arrange the mediation session – schedule times, book the venue etc.
  • Explain the process and answer questions from all parties.
  • Meet with each person individually to get an understanding of what has happened, what they want to talk about and what they are looking for as outcomes.

During the mediation:

  • Guide the parties through a structured approach to the conversation.
  • Use a range of techniques – listening, summarising, asking questions to help the conversation happen in a fair and useful way,
  • Identify the discussion topics,
  • Assist parties to raise all relevant issues, and help the parties negotiate and agree on outcomes.
  • Scribe any agreements that the parties reach, if requested.

The mediator will:

  • Remain neutral.
  • Not give advice or express any judgement.
  • Keep matters confidential.

What is involved in a mediation?

Mediation is flexible and can be altered to suit the particular situation and needs of the parties. However a typical mediation process includes:

  • Initial liaison to check that mediation is appropriate, that the parties want to participate and to make logistical arrangements- dates, times, venue etc
  • One-on-one meeting–A separate meeting with each party (usually for about an hour) where they explain the problem or dispute from their perspective and their preferred outcomes.
  • Joint meeting – Meeting jointly, the mediator and all parties to talk about the concerns and work toward an agreement that the parties are able to accept.
  • Time- Every mediation is different but a rule of thumb is approximately three hours for a mediation discussion.
  • Follow- up – The process is flexible so there may be no need for anything further, or there may be agreement to have more than one meeting or to meet in the future to check back in on how things are going.

Why should I use mediation services?

It is up to people to decide the preferred process and what is suitable in their particular circumstances.

The advantages of a mediation process are that it:

  • Provides a fair and safe forum for conversation
  • Assists parties to better understand their needs and concerns and those of the other party/ies.
  • Allows parties to speak for themselves and come up with their own agreements
  • Is confidential – so improves the chances of a full and frank discussion
  • Is often quicker, less stressful and less costly then other processes (grievances, court etc)

If you are interested in gaining more information on Logan Consulting Group’s Workplace Mediation Services contact us at admin@loganconsulting.com.au or phone: +61 3 90800961

This information is also in the fact sheet: Workplace Mediation: How does it Work?

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