How to Prepare for Workplace Mediation
BY TONY MUNDAY, LAWYER MONTHLY
Workplace mediation is a great tool to quickly and effectively resolve conflicts. “When planning to engage in workplace mediation, what should parties and legal counsel keep in mind?” asks Tony Munday and provides a guide based on his experience as a mediator.
As a tool for resolving workplace conflicts and disputes, workplace mediation is preferred in many cases to formal grievance procedures and employment tribunals. Ensuring that all involved are adequately prepared for workplace mediation, however, is vital.
If conducted properly, workplace mediation can allow for effective resolution of disputes that would otherwise be long and costly to unravel. When planning to engage in workplace mediation, what should parties and legal counsel keep in mind?
Language is important. My language as a mediator, throughput the process, must be clean in NLP terms. I do not refer to ‘parties‘, since that is an adversarial term. I speak of ‘participants’. That is a neutral term. The venue selected is also important. It must be neutral and provide the appropriate context for the mediation process.
When I am engaged by an organisation, I do not require a perspective about the matters at hand, because that viewpoint itself could be a subjective one. I need to develop my own understanding of the issues, based entirely on what the participants tell me. The skill of active listening is essential – both verbal and nonverbal communication; what is said, what is not said, and how it is said. These are key aspects for a mediator to consider and adopt.