May 17, 2016

Resolving workplace conflicts

When conflicts occur in the workplace it is crucial that you manage them swiftly and appropriately.

Whether as a result of an argument, a person taking offence on how instructions are given or even personality clashes, an unsettled workforce will bring productivity, and workplace moral, crashing down.

Why should employers have mediators?

It is crucial to diffuse a situation before it escalates into a more serious matter. Remember, early intervention will save you both time and money.

Mediation in the work place can be an affordable route to resolving conflicts.

It is where an independent party helps people resolve their conflicts by reaching mutual agreements as to how they will work together in the future.

This is achieved through a series of structured meetings with a mediator present, usually over a 1 day process, and although the outcome is not legally binding, it stands as a moral code for those involved.

Workplace mediation is not about focusing on the reasons for the conflict, trying to blame one side or the other, or necessarily resolve the issues. It aims solely on the future and how the parties can co-operate when they must work together.

Know what to expect

It is important that the parties involved have an understanding of the mediation process.

It is the mediator’s responsibility to fully explain the process so the expectations of those involved are managed and met.

Enter the process voluntarily

Voluntarily entering into the process is one of the most important aspects of mediation.

A party forced into enter the process will not enter with the positive state of mind that is so crucial to the process. Therefore mediation is unlikely to work if parties do not engage in the process freely.

Be prepared

It is beneficial for the participants to mentally collect and organise their thoughts and prepare themselves for what will, at times, be a challenging and intense, but also satisfying day.

The participants will be required to provide the mediator with a full explanation on events to date which, in some cases, make the person explaining uncomfortable; particularly where the working relationship is uneven such as a Manager and a junior.

For the mediation process to be successful, you must ensure that your employees:

• Are honest

• Respect those involved

• Trust the mediator

• Focus on the future

• Keep working on the agreement

If after attempting to resolve your employee’s differences you still find there is conflict, disciplinary action may not always be the appropriate step to take.

At Moorepay we can provide a mediation service to help diffuse a difficult situation, and attempt to reach a workable solution to internal conflicts.

Where you have these issues please do not attempt to go it alone, contact us for help and assistance.

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About the author

Francis Scoon

Francis has over 20 years’ experience of Employment Law and HR related issues gained in both large public and private organisations. As well as representing SMEs, Francis has worked in the Employment Department of a large regional law firm, advising preparing and representing cases on behalf of claimants. Before joining Moorepay, Francis was a Senior Advocate where, in addition to maintaining a caseload of employment tribunal cases covering all aspects of employment law, he managed a team of advocates and an administrator.

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