The aim of this briefing note is to ensure that all parties leaving mediation make the most of the process and the outcomes
OBJECTIVES: The objectives of workplace mediation are to prevent dispute escalation, resolve disputes sufficiently to restore effective working relationships, and help install support processes in the workplace. The outcome of mediation is unlikely to create social friendships. The objective to restore sufficient and effective relations at work is important for disputants, their teams and their employers. “Sufficient and Effective” means that all parties behave and deliver to the expectations and standards of the organisation and its stakeholders.
BEHAVIOURAL STANDARDS: Disputants can exhibit unconscious negative verbal and non-verbal signals. Examples are avoiding eye contact, negative vocal inflexions, crossed arms, interrupting, pointing, not contributing, or withholding information. It can be a challenge to control these behaviours if an issue has been unresolved for a period of time. Over time negative behaviours can become unconsciously embedded.
SUPPORT PROCESSES: Negative signals, however small, are often consciously identified by co-workers. This can induce others into demotivation, reduced engagement, lower performance, absenteeism or resignation. Disputants can often benefit by asking for and receiving regular feedback on their behaviour at work. The survey process known as 360 Review can assist behavioural awareness, recognition, evaluation and productive improvement. Descriptive feedback needs to be specific to visible behaviours, timely, regular, and non confrontational. Anonymity can improve openness. Diverse opinions are not always a cause for concern. Those asked to give and receive feedback may need guidance on confidentiality, and the positive purpose of the process. For those being described their self-evaluation is essential.
PSYCHOMETRICS: This is a recognised and proven tool to improve relationship management. Trait analysis can be accurately self-assessed with a ten minute questionnaire. The report describes one’s behavioural traits and how to adjust to meet the needs of others. This can promote greater awareness of oneself and one’s impact on others.
RISKS: Disputants who do not apply Post Mediation activities to the best of their abilities are likely to experience ongoing issues which can escalate to the detriment of themselves and their teams. Employers may be unable to risk the future spread of discontentment, irrespective of past performance. Employers may also be under legal obligations to disclose performance records to future employers if they are considered to have an impact on others.
Post Mediation support activities can reduce risk and enhance performance at work to the benefit of all parties. The agreements achieved through Mediation need to be followed up and reinforced to ensure people can get back on track to healthier and productive practices. For more information contact us.