Conflict Resolution Workplace

Conflict Resolution Workplace? End It Now!

Conflict resolution workplace. I have been asked several times by enquirers and trainee mediators, those seeking mediation observations, how does an actual workplace mediation happen. How long does it take from enquiry to actually mediating it. Start to finish so to speak.

Therefore, I thought I would answer those questions and detail step by step how it all happens.  

Each mediation will vary, it is mostly dependent upon the employee’s availability. I have managed to mediate disputes within five days of contact. Others have taken longer, but generally within two to four weeks of initial contact your mediation will take place.

On the 28th May 2024 a national charity contacted me for a workplace mediation quote. I emailed them the quote immediately. They replied the next day, stating they wished to proceed with me. I replied asking for the employees and their head of service’s email addresses and phone numbers.

On the 5th June 2024 the head of service rang me, and we discussed the issues the employees were having with one another. It concerned a very senior manager and their direct report who was also a manager.

Although there were some historical issues between the two, it had come to the attention of the senior manager the direct report had made a racist comment about a candidate who had been interviewed for a vacancy.

He had no choice but to report it to HR, who investigated the matter. The direct report felt that his manager could have just come and discussed this with him, rather than reporting the same and the formal investigation. This led to a breakdown in communication, hence the need for conflict resolution workplace being suggested and the need for a workplace mediator.  

After this conversation I emailed both the employees copied into the head of service. Requesting their availability for us to have an introduction call, and a date for the workplace mediation. Both employees responded with their dates, namely the 10th & 12 of June 2024, and the 26th for the actual conflict resolution workplace to take place.

I spoke with each employee on the dates they requested. I explained the workplace mediation services I provide, and what the workplace mediation process entails. I explained that an agreement to mediate would need to be signed and returned, alongside a position statement.

A position statement is simply a four-page document, detailing the background to the dispute, any key turning points, incidents, the current situation, what each employee realistically expects from the other to work alongside each other and finally, what could the employee have done differently themselves? I also listened to the concerns that they had with each other. The calls lasted fifth teen minutes each.

Fast forward to the 25th June 2024, it took me one hour to prepare my suit, steamed, pressed and ironed. It took me another hour to read through the employee’s position statements.

26th June 2024, I wake at five in the morning, leave the home office in Birmingham at seven, it takes me just over two hours, 110 miles to reach my destination in Barnsley.

At ten o clock I have a private and confidential meeting with the first employee, which lasted one hour, listening to all of their concerns, and highlighting the key issues that need to be discussed with their manager.

At eleven fifth teen I do exactly the same with their manager, we break for lunch, and resume at one o clock. I got each employee to address their concerns with one another, we went into detail about a number of issues, whereby a plan of working alongside each other was agreed. Which mostly revolved around how to communicate with one another, and deadlines.

Although the afternoon session of the majority of my conflict resolution workplace mediations usually consist of a series of private and joint meetings as appropriate. There was no need to have any separate meetings, we just had one long joint one, which worked.

I am glad to report, that after six hours the dispute was resolved, I emailed what was agreed between the two employees to them, copied into their head of service, which they both consented to.

From Barnsley I went to Manchester, to have dinner with a solicitor friend, who I trained in commercial mediation in September 2019. After all the road works, I reached home at ten in the evening, a seventeen-hour day!

Gucci says its five.
Wake up, become alive.
To Barnsley I drive.
Workplace mediation in person today is live.
Tackling the senior managers issues, the day we all survive!
The suit is Boss.
Thankfully I did not make the employees cross.
I’m slipping it took me 6 hours to settle.
Regardless I helped them to fettle.
Dinner in Manchester, to catch up with a solicitor, who in commercial mediation, I trained.
Thankfully her interest in mediation has not waned.

Written by Mediator Harvinder Singh Bhurji, LLB(Hons) QDR(M) MCIArb MCMI CTLLS, Director, International Commercial, Workplace Mediator & Trainer. 

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