No matter how successful a team or organisation, when working closely together, difficulties in communication are inevitable. Differing beliefs, values, goals and life experiences can all contribute to misunderstandings which, in turn, can escalate into something much more difficult to deal with.

With ever-changing working environments, increased presenteeism and diminished resources, people are under increased levels of stress and both individuals and teams can become fractured

Conflict between individuals:

Conflict between individuals usually starts with something small, but if it is not dealt with in the early stages then it can quickly lead to a breakdown in communication and ultimately, a total breakdown in a working relationship.  This often results in increased absence costs, as these individuals take time off to deal with the effects of conflict. If conflict is not managed correctly, individuals can lose their identity and become embroiled in long and costly formal procedures. They can feel totally de-motivated and disillusioned with the organisation leading to decreased engagement and productivity and overall happiness at work.

Team Conflict:

CiC are working with more and more organisations who no longer require two person mediations, but instead need help with teams of people who have become impacted and entrenched in a conflict situation that has spiralled out of control.

Conflict in the workplace

Managers play a key role in how they recognise and respond to early signs and symptoms of conflict between individuals and their teams. It is essential that they are equipped with the resources to be able to signpost them to the right support and not use avoidance as a solution.

What can you do?

So what can be done to try to manage and resolve these conflict situations?  The most important thing is to ensure that Managers and HR know when and where to signpost for support.  Conflict resolution training for Managers can provide your management team with a toolkit of support and helps them to identify their own styles of dealing with conflict and how to have those difficult conversations.  Another option is to train up ambassadors for mediation within your organisation.  Individuals who have a good understanding of when you can use mediation, understand how the process works and can support employees with getting the right access to mediation support.  The ten reasons listed below provide a good business case to mediation.

When should this happen?

It is never too late to bring in mediation, but the earlier the referral to mediation, the greater the chance of reaching a professional and sustainable resolution before a situation becomes increasingly complex. However, it is also possible to undertake mediation during or after a formal procedure providing the parties are willing to put this to one side for the duration of the mediation. Remember, mediation can never be used in a court of law and the mediators cannot be called as witnesses.  If you are ever unsure if a situation is appropriate or want to discuss this in confidence then contact me at timmykurtuldum@cic-eap.co.uk

 

The Benefits of Mediation:

In recent years, the profile of workplace mediation has increased, with many UK organisations now trying to promote mediation services and embed this as a long-term strategy of managing workplace conflict. Workplace mediation must always be a voluntary process, with both parties willing to enter into the process. When this is the case, there is a wealth of benefits to this process:

  • It is a quick and flexible intervention, saving Management and HR time spent on dealing with formal procedures and trying to resolve conflict themselves
  • It is cost-effective and far cheaper than the high costs associated with formal procedures
  • It offers an effective negotiating process in a safe environment
  • It is completely confidential and voluntary
  • It allows the parties to retain control and really be heard with settlements being made by the parties themselves and the mediator helping to facilitate this
  • It identifies the issues before they become disputes
  • It is future focussed, working on problem solving and realistic and sustainable ways for the individuals to move forward and work professionally together
  • It increases morale and improves employee relationships and improves staff retention
  • It promotes productive and healthy working environments and shows a more mature workplace environment and understanding at a deeper level
  • It is an informal, impartial process

 

Our team of workplace mediators can support you with ad hoc mediation and team facilitations, conflict management training, conflict coaching and internal mediation training.

If you have a situation that you would like to talk through or get some advice then contact me directly at timmykurtuldum@cic-eap.co.uk