Mediation for solving workplace conflict

Workplace conflict can be hugely damaging for organisations. We explore below the challenges and solutions to workplace conflict. In particular, mediation which can be a highly successful approach to resolving issues at work.  

The problem with workplace conflict

Workplace conflict is an inevitability for most organisations because everyone comes to work with different values, views, motives and pet peeves.  Most of the time this creates diversity of thought which is generally a good thing in the workplace.  Arguably some conflict is beneficial because it challenges the norm and helps colleagues reach the right decisions.   However, we will all have seen or heard of situations where workplace conflict has reached an unhealthy level.  It can be anything from the way work is being performed, management styles, personality clashes, and often very minor issues which have mushroomed. 

Causes of conflict in the workplace

Often colleagues can’t even remember how the issues started, but suffice to say, when two or more people don’t see eye to eye, the knock-on effect for an organisation is considerable.   Workplace conflict can create poor morale, reduced productivity, increased absenteeism and can impact on employee turnover. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Employers should keep a watchful eye on conflict across the organisation and nip issues in the bud as they happen to avoid the requirement for more involved intervention. 

Unfortunately, not all workplace conflict issues can be resolved before they become unmanageable.  Often because niggles at work go unnoticed and they then snowball.  This means employers are often left with no option but to get involved to solve problems in the best way possible.  

Mediation is a highly successful, alternative approach to dispute resolution. It is less formal than other approaches and is led by an impartial and trained mediator who will facilitate discussions between two or more parties to help them find a way through workplace conflict. The benefits of mediation are significant:

  • Firstly, there is a 70 to 80 per cent success rate in resolving workplace relationships;
  • Secondly, it saves time – most mediation takes one day whereas the average grievance consumes 9 days of time;
  • Thirdly, it reduces the risk of issues escalating into an employment tribunal; and
  • Finally, it’s a more cost efficient approach, saving management time and supporting employees in returning to productivity sooner.
 

In addition to mediation, there are other options organisations can use to deal with workplace issues with varying degrees of success: 

  • Ideally employees will work to resolve issues together as they happen, perhaps over a coffee. The reality is that when conflict becomes ingrained and involves opposing personalities, it can be very difficult to find common ground without expert support.
  • Sometimes managers will observe issues and address this through either a subtle team building exercise or a more overt intervention. This can be successful providing the issues are minor, and the individuals involved are open to making changes.
  • Implementing a disciplinary process might be more appropriate where an employee’s behaviour towards a colleague falls below expected standards – this will only work where the misconduct is one-sided which is fairly unusual.
  • The grievance process should be open to all employees where they are unhappy with a situation.  But this formal process often fails to get to the root of the issue and can leave all parties involved feeling disillusioned with the outcome.
  • Arbitration and conciliation led by ACAS is a formal dispute resolution mechanism – as this is one step away from an employment tribunal, it often means the issue is beyond the point of no return.
 

How FD People can help with workplace mediation services

Given the potential for success in resolving workplace conflict, mediation can appear a sensible route to overcome challenges between employees.  However, at the outset, the process will be viewed by employees with both suspicion and scepticism in equal measure.  It is therefore essential employers wanting to utilise mediation ensure impartiality in the process and the right level of expertise is in place.  

FD People can act as an independent third party to mediate workplace disputes.  Our HR Consultants are trained mediators who can impartially lead a mediation process from start to finish in a discreet manner.  Ideally, we would meet your employees in person either on site or at a neutral venue. Or we can also conduct mediation via video conferencing.  We would work with all parties to understand the issues causing conflict, and will facilitate reaching mutually agreeable solutions.  

If your organisation is facing workplace conflict issues, contact us today.  Our HR Consultants have a track record of implementing workplace mediation to successfully overcome significant workplace conflict issues across a wide range of sectors.

Contact Us

Please contact us on 0141 221 2984 or email enquiries@fdpeople.co.uk for further information on how we can support your business. 

 

Clients we work with...

Not quite ready to get in touch?

"I was never quite sold on the merits of HR until I started working with FD People. Lois McMurtrie converted my view around the value of the HR function – she has worked directly with me on a number of key HR projects which have fundamentally changed how we approach people management and which have positively impacted our business and critically our bottom line."

Related Stories

A little more about FD People.

At FD People, we offer bespoke solutions for HR services, Health & Safety services and Payroll services.  We offer clients peace of mind and the hands on HR support, Health and Safety support and Payroll support you need to run your business.  We provide the right set of expertise to combat any people or human resource challenges you may face. We work with clients from a wide range of sectors and locations. Our main offices are based in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling in Scotland but we also look after clients from the rest of Scotland and even across England and the rest of the UK.  Including London, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, Wales, Newcastle, Carlisle etc. Wherever your business is based, we are able to help and offer the support you need.

As part of the French Duncan family (which also includes accountancy, tax, corporate advisory and restructuring advice) we know the importance of a pragmatic and efficient HR function, and that’s why we chose to establish a stand-alone HR consultancy, so our clients could outsource human resources to us, allowing them to concentrate on running their business.

Human Resources is often seen as a transactional function – a necessary service to tick the boxes required in the increasingly litigious world. But after the past few years of COVID, it is now even clearer why HR is critical for all businesses with employees. It is what ensures organisations survive through challenges and change, with people at the heart and achieving positive outcomes for the business.

And yet HR is never straightforward. So at FD People we help businesses work through complex employment challenges. As we embark on this new era of work, it couldn’t be a better moment to engage with a strong, adaptable, bespoke HR partner to help you navigate the years ahead.