Workplace conflict happens in every organisation.

People working together often experience differences or incompatibilities in their personalities, styles of communication, interests, needs, goals, values, beliefs, ideas or feelings. And it’s those differences that can lead to conflict arising in very different ways with varied levels of intensity. It’s important to recognise it is not necessarily the conflict itself that negatively impacts an organisation and the people who work there, but rather the way conflict is dealt with or not dealt with that leads to unhelpful and negative results.

By engaging an independent third party (or external) mediator to work with parties or teams in conflict, organisations can take a proactive, future-focussed and outcome-driven approach to conflict that is confidential and free of bias.

Workplace mediation involves a mediator acting as an independent and impartial third-party. Playing a facilitative role, the mediator guides and supports parties in conflict to identify and explore the issues between them, consider options and work together on solutions, future actions, and a workable plan for moving forward. This process provides parties with a framework to help them shift from conflict, into a more positive and constructive form of communication and understanding.

Workplace mediation can help resolve

  • Performance issues
  • Conflict regarding leadership behaviours and work style differences
  • Claims of harassment and bullying
  • Issues with communication styles and communication breakdown
  • Conflict relating to approach to work, accountability and structure of roles and responsibilities
  • Interpersonal conflict

Benefits of Workplace mediation

  • Allows parties to discuss the issues between them privately and safely, outside of the workplace setting
  • Ensures quick and effective response to issues, reducing impact on employees involved
  • Strengthens communication and understanding between parties
  • Improves collaboration through parties working together to resolve a dispute between them
  • Reduces impact on wider organisational culture and staff morale
  • Empowers participants by ensuring agency, ownership and responsibility for outcomes

Mediation is a confidential process aimed at resolving conflict in the workplace quickly and effectively, with minimal impact to the people involved and the organisation as a whole.

Workplace Mediation Process

Engagement and frame of reference

To start, we need to hear about the conflict from a high-level perspective to gain an understanding of who is involved and how the conflict is manifesting. We also discuss options for next steps in terms of the mediation process and reporting outcomes from mediation.

Intake session and coaching

We begin the formal mediation process by interviewing each of the people involved in the conflict. The intake interviews are confidential and provide opportunity for people to offer their perspective on the issues in conflict. At Fresh Start, we incorporate elements of the Cinergy conflict coaching & management model into our intake sessions, so that people involved can begin to reflect on theirs  and the other parties’ experience of the conflict.

Mediation (or facilitated discussion)

  • Once all parties have been interviewed, a time is set for mediation (or a facilitated discussion, as it is sometimes informally referred to). Depending on the people and issues involved, a mediation session may range from 3-5 hours) and follows a general framework of:
  • Opening summary and introduction: all participants are provided with opportunity to give short summary of what they are hoping to discuss in the session and what they are hoping to achieve
  • Identify topic / issues for discussion: the mediator will work with the parties to establish an agenda for the session. This may have been provided to the parties prior to commencement of the session.
  • Exploration of issues: with support and guidance from the mediator the participants are encouraged and supported to explore the issues between them in a confidential and safe environment with the aim of gaining mutual insight and understanding into one another’s perspectives and experience.
  • Discussion of options and solutions for the future: with participants now having insight into the issues on the table, the mediator facilitates discussion and brainstorming of options and solutions for moving forward. This may include establishing an agreed-to action plan and milestones for measuring progress or success.

Reporting, re-engagement, review

The mediator will provide details of outcomes and the agreed-to action plan as discussed and consented to by parties in the mediation. Where appropriate, the mediator may be re engaged to undertake a review of progress with participants within an agreed timeframe in line with identified milestones for measurement.

We can’t control what people do, but we can control how we respond.

Give Fresh Start a call to discuss our
Workplace Mediation Services

Fresh Start Mediation services the whole of Australia, offering face to face and online mediation options.