Lessons of a mediator

by Human Capital19 Jun 2012

  • Stop the mediation process if a party disengages. If a party has lost the willingness to arrive at a mediated outcome, don’t continue as you will waste your time and everyone else’s and you could risk further damage to the relationship between the parties. The best and smartest practice is not to be in the spot where you need to mediate. How can you do this?
     
  • Build communication skills of your employees. When people communicate well, they can resolve their own disputes.
     
  • Minimise conflict by reducing behaviours that are potentially damaging. Train employees in expected standards of behaviour. This might be part of your generic EEO, Corporate Values training program or a program focussed on behaviours.
     
  • Use your existing resources to support employees in conflict. Employee Assistance Programs can help employees identify issues at the early part of a conflict, establish expectations and assist employees in understanding their interactions.
     
  • Use a conflict coach to provide more intensive support to an employee. This may assist the employee to understand the issues in conflict and gain some insight into the conflict.
     
  • Support your frontline leaders in identifying and managing conflict. They are in the best spot to act early. They can recognise when a conflict sparks, they know the people involved and will have the best feel for the next step. Train your frontline leaders to in managing down conflict early and responding to grievances through Grievance Handling training.
     
  • Give your frontline leaders the skills to be a coach to their team members. Allow them the opportunity to foster a strong relationship with their team.
     
  • Institute post incident/experience learning opportunities between frontline leaders as a measure to consolidate learnings between leaders and identify any systemic change required in the business.
     
  • Don’t allow your bullying policy to be a “how to” guide for bullying. Ensure it emphasises desired conduct and outcomes, is underpinned with your organisational Values and establishes a framework that allows you some involvement in influencing the path for resolution of a conflict (eg an initial triage step). Also ensure that mediation is an early step in the process not the one that is post complaint or just before an external avenue such as the ADB or FWA.

 

About the author

Danielle Carney is principal consultant with Peel HR. For further information phone 02 4963 7373 or Email dcarney@peelhr.com.au


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