Conflict is part of our daily lives and exists in workplaces. When there is unresolved, negative conflict between work colleagues it can be damaging to the organization. Some of the direct and measurable costs related to unresolved conflict include legal costs responding to grievances; employees taking a leave of absence; payments to settle claims; and costs to sever employees as a result of conflict.
When conflict is unresolved, there are intangible costs as well. Typically, employees in a conflict situation experience stress. By-products of stress and unresolved conflict can and do include mental health problems; diminished morale; damaged work relationships; absenteeism and / or disability claims; and loss of productivity due to the employee and supervisory time spent attempting to deal with and resolve conflict issues.
The goal of a workplace mediation is for participants to resolve the dispute themselves, by making an informed decision that everyone can live with.
Benefits of workplace mediation include:
- The confidential nature of mediation allows parties to vent in a safe environment.
- It is an early intervention that might help avoid matters escalating further
- It empowers participants to be responsible for and own the outcome – they are part of the solution
- Participants who have been involved in the cooperative problem-solving process may bring the positive techniques they learned back to their work environments
- It has the potential to improve morale, increase productivity, and retain employees
Workplace mediation is an empowering process in which the participants are given agency and responsibility for their own outcomes. Consequently, the participants are likely to be more invested in an outcome not imposed on them.