Did you know that poorly managed workplace conflict is costing businesses around £24 billion every year? Lately, we’ve been discussing how much of an impact the right workplace mediation services can have on your business.

Disagreements, clashes of opinion, ‘creative differences’ – or even full blown arguments – are a part of being human. Whether it’s with your partner, a parent, between your children or your friends, it’s near impossible to have everything coming up roses 100% of the time.

But what about disagreements that happen in the workplace?

Workplace mediation can be effective in reducing stress, resolving conflict, restoring and improving working relationships. In times of conflict, sometimes it’s for those involved hard to think sensibly about how to proceed, but employers, managers and HR professionals do have far more options than the ‘formal grievance’ route with regards to workplace mediation, the real key is knowing when to step in…

Early warning signs of a workplace conflict:

  • Unproductive meetings: when there is tension in a team, colleagues may be quieter than usual or not so keen to collaborate.
  • Lack of focus: if your employees are not happy in their work environment, they will likely not be as able to focus on their work – whether that be out of a lack of motivation or because they are stressed or anxious about a dispute.
  • Cliques: your staff work best when they work collaboratively. If disputes cause cliques and rifts in your workforce, your company will not be functioning at maximum productivity.
  • The usual suspects: Is it the same people always clashing heads? Be that creative differences, bickering, or even bullying? If the usual suspects keep making their voices heard (likely involuntarily) there is likely an issue that needs to be addressed.

Although most workplace disagreements blow over, get left in the boardroom or are resolved with minimal intervention, when left unmanaged or unaddressed, some workplace grievances can fester and grow into a much larger problem for your business. For example:

  • Lack of morale and motivation
  • Decreased productivity and performance
  • Absenteeism
  • Poor communication and damaged working relationships

As a result, the long-term impact of workplace conflict can damage your business’ reputation, as well as negatively affect profits and work output. Failing recognising – or address – the need for workplace mediation can be very costly to your company. Furthermore, when left unmanaged, workplace conflict can drive employers to either hand in their notice, or file a formal grievance – both can prove very timely and expensive.

In a joint publication by the CIPD and Acas, the definition of mediation is given as a method that ‘is increasingly being used to resolve disputes in many areas of life. It is one of the processes within the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) spectrum and involves a neutral third party bringing two sides together with the aim of reaching a mutual agreement’. The goal of mediation in the workplace is for employees to resolve the issue between them, rather than having a punishment, solution or ultimatum forced upon them by senior staff.

Successful workplace mediation must:

  • Be completely voluntary for both or all parties/employees involved
  • Remain confidential before, during and after the process
  • Take place in a private, safe but familiar place for employees
  • Encourage self-reflection and empathy from the persons involved
  • Explore the issues as impartially as possible
  • Centre around the main goal of resolving the issue or dispute

CiC are experts in employee wellbeing. Though we understand that each and every workplace dispute is different, we have the knowledge and experience to help you address employee conflicts before they snowball into big, business problems.

We believe that mediation is an essential resource for organisations, that’s why we offer a quick and cost-effective confidential Mediation service that can help your organisation prevent and manage interpersonal difficulties; enable better working relationships; build more successful teams and maximise your business’ performance.

For more information on CiC’s workplace mediation service, Contact Us today.