Both employers and employees can immensely benefit from a conflict-free workplace. To employers, a conflict-free workplace means higher productivity, low turnover and a positive organizational image. And to the employee, this means greater motivation and a sense of belonging.
But workplaces are made up of individuals from different backgrounds and with unique belief systems. While this diversity enriches the workplace, it can also lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. When these conflicts escalate to the point of impacting workplace productivity or morale, or when a formal complaint is filed, it might be time to consider resolving the matter. And one of the conflict resolution approaches you may consider is mediation. But when does this work?
Generally, here are three instances when mediation can be used to resolve a labor dispute.
When the dispute is between coworkers
Sometimes, a group of employees may not get along quite well. For instance, an employee may accuse a co-worker or bullying or discrimination. Upon investigation, however, the management may find that the incident in question doesn’t rise to the level of discrimination. However, it may impact the victim’s morale. In this case, the management may bring in a mediator to help resolve the conflict in question.
When an employee files a complaint with the court or government agency
Mediation can also help resolve complaints that are filed outside the organization. These conflicts may include all manner of employment-related disputes like non-competition disputes, sexual harassment, disability accommodation, discrimination, retaliation or employee termination.
When there is a conflict between the employer and the union
Mediation can also resolve a conflict that involves an employer and the employee union. An example of this would be when the management and the union need help to settle the terms of a collective bargaining agreement.
Protecting your interests
Conflicts are part of any workplace just as they are part of life. Learning more about mediation as a tool for workplace conflict resolution can help you reach the best possible outcome when mediating a work-related dispute.