Mediation helps manage workplace conflict and reduce organizational costs related to employee disputes. But at what stage in a conflict should you introduce mediation?
Early Intervention Is Desirable
The more a disagreement simmers, the more parties will get entrenched in their view. Attitudes will then harden making dispute resolution harder.
Accordingly, most mediation experts encourage early intervention. Mediation in employment disputes may be more effective when used at the initial or early stages of a workplace disagreement.
Mediation As a First Resort
Mediation is often more successful when used at an early stage in the conflict cycle. However, the process shouldn’t be the first intervention.
If mediation is the first resort, disputing parties may not see the advantages of going into the process. They should then be first encouraged to talk to each other. They should also speak to their manager before mediation is introduced.
Mediation at Later Stages
Mediation is a voluntary process without strict rules. It can potentially work at any stage of workplace conflict. The process can be introduced even after a dispute has been resolved through a formal procedure. Mediation after resolving a formal dispute helps rebuild relationships and boost teamwork.
Need to Strike a Balance
The timing of mediation can be crucial. Once people identify the benefits of mediation and are ready, there is no need to delay the process.
The timely intervention will increase the chances of success. Also, the process will complete before relationships have been torn irreparably.
There are no strict rules for when to use or not use mediation in employment disputes. However, most mediators recommend mediation at the early stages of a conflict before the hardening of attitudes.
Still, mediation can be introduced even after other attempts to resolve workplace conflict have failed. And if the dispute is already resolved, mediation can help restore relationships.