May 19, 2011
The benefits of mediation in the workplace must be promoted beyond the HR profession if it is to be effectively utilised to resolve disputes, according to practitioners.
The business case must be set out to line managers and leaders outside the HR world, according to former HR director and workplace mediator, Clive Lewis.
At an event in London launching his latest book, Lewis, founding director of Globis Mediation Group said: “We must outline where mediation can be used in teams and as a cost saving mechanism. The challenge is to get this concept outside of HR. It’s not just about mediators being brought in but equipping line managers with the skills to deal with conflict in the workplace themselves.”
Leigh Lafever-Ayer, corporate HR manager, UK and Ireland at Enterprise Rent-a-Car said the company had used mediation for conflict resolution since 2007.
“Mediation is often thought about as a last option. Yet it offers many more opportunities even for those with limited experience of it and should be used much earlier on to resolve conflict.
“We haven’t had a large number of people use it but where it has been used it has been a very positive experience. For example, people have stayed engaged with the workplace. Before, the relationship might have been totally severed.”
Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the CIPD warned that more needed to be done to raise awareness of the benefits of mediation in the workplace so that it was seen as more acceptable and “normalised.”
He told PM: “It’s not just cost effective but gives reassurance to the employer and employee. It’s a sensible way forward that delivers better results.”
But he added: “There needs to be a strong nudge from government to employers and employees to buy into the value of mediation.”
The latest CIPD Conflict Management survey, published earlier this year, showed that 57 per cent of respondents reported that they use mediation.
They cited the main benefits of mediation as being effective in improving relationships between employees, reducing or eliminating the stress of using more formal processes and avoiding the cost of defending claims.
Despite this, of the organisations that do not use mediation, 46 per cent said this was because they believed there was no clear business case.
Business leaders and mediation experts welcomed Lewis’s book Resolving Workplace Conflict: 12 Stories for raising the profile of mediation at work
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