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Workplace Mediation

Workplace Mediation

Every organisation encounters difficulty and conflict with individuals, within teams and even across the business at some stage.

Conflict is natural but managing it is not always so! Sometimes issues cannot be resolved internally and involving an external party is the most effective strategy to manage the situation. LifeWorks’ Consultants provide a range of tailored consulting, training and assessment strategies to promote an environment in which people work together more effectively.

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.

How Does Workplace Mediation Work?

Mediation is flexible and can be altered to suit the particular situation and needs of the parties. However a typical LifeWorks 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)

How do I engage a LifeWorks mediation?

If you are an employee with a situation you think may be suitable for mediation, we suggest you talk to your Human Resources department or an appropriate manager within your organisation.

LifeWorks would typically liaise with HR or a manager who can authorise the process, to check that all those involved want to go ahead and to arrange the logistics.

If you are interested in more information on LifeWorks’ Mediation services, contact the LifeWorks Business Services team on (03) 8650 6200 or email workplace@lifeworks.com.au to discuss your needs.