Warwick Mediation for the Workplace can:
- Resolve Workplace Disputes
A supportive and confidential process that will help to resolve conflict between two staff members or small and large teams.
- Facilitate Change
Mediation in the workplace can help to facilitate change, for example pre- or post-merger, or after other significant changes in team dynamics.
- Implement Bespoke Training
Specific bespoke training will help to address issues in the workplace in addition to resolving conflict.
What is Workplace Mediation?
Warwick Mediation in conjunction with Emma McAndry (CMC Fellow and Director of Essential Mediation Solutions) is delighted to offer workplace peer mediation services to University of Warwick staff.
Mediation is a successful, confidential process that is used for resolving disputes. It provides a safe way to talk through issues with the assistance of an impartial mediator, to find a way forward and improve working relationships. The focus is on working together to go forward, not determining who was right or wrong in the past. Members of staff find their own solution and hopefully reach an agreement that will restore and maintain workplace relationships.
- Is voluntary (you only take part if you want to)
- Is confidential (nothing you tell the mediator will be passed on to anyone else unless you want it to be)
- Is impartial (the mediator won’t take sides or judge who is right or wrong)
- Works towards an agreed solution which is “owned” by the parties to the disagreement
- Is most effective at the early stages of conflict
- Aims to maintain the employment relationship
- Can introduce new ways of thinking and will focus on solving problems.
Who can use Workplace Mediation?
Workplace Mediation can be used to resolve a variety of disputes, for individuals and teams. It may be helpful to resolve issues between managers and staff or between employees. It can also be used as a process to help implement change.
Staff can self-refer using this form or be referred through HR. All cases are confidential.
Why should I choose mediation?
- Conflict with your colleagues can undermine your effectiveness at work and lead to stress; mediation can help you resolve your disagreement so you can get on with ‘normal’ life again
- When you are involved in a conflict, talking to the person you are in disagreement with can seem impossible: mediation can re-establish those channels of communication
- Any agreement is on terms agreed by you, not dictated by someone else; it leaves you in control of what is finally agreed.
- Mediation is less stressful than more formal procedures – although we appreciate that taking part in mediation will still place demands upon you.
How does it work?
In the first instance you should raise any concerns you have with your line manager. If you think that mediation would be beneficial then your line manager will contact your HR Business Partner who will assist with a referral to Warwick Mediation or you can refer yourself using this form. Mediation is a voluntary process and all parties will need to agree to the process before it can take place.
Warwick Mediation uses co-mediators who act together to support each other and the parties. Your mediators will contact you to gain some background information and to discuss what mediation means . When all parties have met with the mediators individually, if all agree, all parties will be invited to a joint meeting.
At the end of the joint meeting you will be asked to put together an agreement. Everything discussed will be confidential but if all parties are happy to do so, the agreement will be shared with any relevant parties.
After the mediation session you will be asked to complete a confidential evaluation form which will then be sent Warwick Mediation to help improve the service offered.
If a member of staff approaches you or you feel that mediation may assist in a conflict situation at work then you need to ensure that both parties agree to mediation and that they understand the process (please direct them to these webpages). Your HR Business Partner can then nominate a mediator. You will be asked to complete a Request for Mediation which will be used by the mediator to gain an understanding of the issues before they contact the individuals.
Once the mediation has taken place you should encourage both parties to complete a confidential Mediation Evaluation Form.
You should be aware that not all conflicts will be suitable for mediation and not all mediations will conclude with a positive result. If you would like more information on mediation then please contact Warwick Mediation.
How does mediation fit in with other University procedures?
Many staff will be able to resolve disputes informally, through dialogue and communication with their managers and their colleagues. The staff grievance procedures and the Dignity at Warwick Policy encourage staff to resolve disputes informally before resorting to the application of formal procedures.
Mediation offers an alternative to pursing complaints and disagreements between colleagues through the staff grievance procedure or the Dignity at Warwick policy. It can be a more effective way to resolve disagreements informally before a more formal procedure is invoked. If you agree to take part in mediation, this does not prevent you from pursuing your grievance or complaint through a formal procedure in the event that mediation does not resolve the issue.
Mediation relies upon the cooperation of all parties – i.e. both the person making the complaint (or the one who feels aggrieved) and the person whose behaviour or conduct concerns them. If the person who is the subject of the complaint refuses to take part in the mediation, then mediation cannot take place. In such circumstances, the person making the complaint can choose to pursue their concerns through the formal grievance procedure.
Forms and other guidance
- Request for mediation form– to be completed by line manager and signed off Senior HRBP or staff can self-refer using this form.
- Mediation Evaluation Form – to be completed by both parties who took part in mediation
You may wish to discuss any issues you have with a Dignity Contact, your HR Business Partner or Trade Union representative.
Confidential support can also be found at EAP . See more sources of support on right.
FAQs about mediation
What kind of problems can mediation help with?
Most kinds of dispute can be mediated provided that those involved want to find a way forward. Mediation is especially suitable when the aim is to maintain the employment relationship. It can be used at any stage in a dispute but is often most effective if used early on.
Mediation will not be appropriate in every situation – for example where there is a disagreement about whether an employee is entitled to a particular benefit under the terms and conditions of employment or where your complaint is an allegation of serious bullying or harassment which could lead to serious disciplinary action.
Mediation may not be suitable if you want to enforce a legal right or want someone to decide the ‘rights and wrongs’ of an issue for you.
Who will carry out the mediation?
If you agree to take part in mediation, HR Services or Warwick Mediation will nominate co-mediators. The mediators will usually be either trained HR professionals within HR who does not normally support your department or Service, or trained peer mediators and will have had no previous involvement with the issues which are concerning you.
What will the process involve?
Generally the co-mediators will contact each party separately to discuss the issues. If all agree, a joint meeting will take place with the mediators and the parties.
What does the mediator do?
The mediators guide the individuals through the process and help to them to identify the real issues and come up with ideas to improve things. The mediators will support the parties to find a mutually agreeable solution. Both sides can talk to the mediator openly because the mediator will not pass on anything said without the agreement of the person who said it. Those involved with the mediation will be given a written copy of anything that is agreed.
Where will the mediation take place?
Mediation can be online or in person. If in person, private rooms will be used for the meetings, away from your normal work area.
Do I have to agree to mediation?
No. Mediation is entirely voluntary. You can ask to consider mediation before committing yourself to taking part in a mediation process. Similarly, you may be asked to consider mediation after you have made a formal complaint of grievance as an alternative to following the formal procedure. You will have the opportunity to speak to HR and ask questions about the mediation process without any obligation on your part to take part in mediation. If, following this discussion, you decide not to take part in mediation or if you use mediation but do not reach agreement, you will still be able to pursue your concerns through the formal procedure.
What if I don’t want to be in the same room as the person I am in dispute with?
The mediators will take this into account if you tell them at your individual meeting. However, an open and frank discussion of the issues, facilitated by the mediators to ensure fairness and appropriate behaviour, can be key to sorting out conflict. They will agree some rules with both sides about how everyone will behave in any joint meeting and help everyone to stick to them. Anyone can ask for the joint meeting to be stopped for ‘time out’ or to speak to the mediators privately.
Can I bring a representative to the mediation?
Mediation is often most successful when those actually in conflict directly work with the mediators to resolve it – particularly when you need to work together in the future. Experience of mediation shows that you are the best person to explain how you feel. An open and frank discussion of the issues, which is facilitated by the mediators to ensure fairness and appropriate behaviour, can be key in sorting out conflict. Consequently, we believe that in most cases mediation will be most effective if only parties to the disagreement are involved with the mediator. There may, however, be good reasons why you feel you need to bring a representative to the mediation and you should discuss this with HR and the assigned mediators before you start the process. It is important that all those involved know in advance who will be attending and what their role will be.
What do I need to do before the mediation?
You will be given more information on this when the mediation is arranged. Sometimes you and the person you have the disagreement with will be asked to write down what the problem is you want the mediators to help with and a short list of the main things that have happened. This is to help the mediators understand what the issue is and to save time during the mediation discussions.
What if anyone involved has any particular requirements/needs?
If anyone has particular requirements like wheelchair access, or mobility problems for example, they should tell HR or Warwick Mediation as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made.
If you feel you need a short break during the mediation discussions (e.g. to calm down or collect yourself), then please let the mediators know. It is an informal process and it is fine to take breaks.
What happens is an agreement cannot be reached?
If agreement cannot be reached, you can still use the University’s staff grievance procedures, but you cannot bring up what has been said by the other person at mediation without their agreement as the mediation meeting is confidential.
Can I be made to keep to an agreement reached in mediation?
You and the person you are in dispute with will both be asked to agree to stick to any agreement reached in mediation. Many parties find it helps accountability to agree to share the written agreement with another person and to consider a review meeting to check if the agreement is working or needs some adaptations.
Agreements reached in mediation are not normally legally binding. In some circumstances, for example where a change in working arrangements is proposed, the outcome agreed by the parties to the disagreement may need to be approved by managers in your Department/Service. It is important that any suggestions made by the parties are ‘realistic’ and acceptable to managers and colleagues in your work area.
(adapted from material drafted by Exeter University)