What Does Mediation Between Two Employees Typically Entail

Mediation between two employees is designed to resolve the conflict between the individuals. Such conflict often contributes to workplace tension, distractions, and lowered productivity. If you are wondering what the mediation process entails, take a moment to learn more about the common steps it features.

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Meeting With the Manager

Professional mediators often speak with the workplace manager to get a feel for the office or other commercial environment. They might ask about the affected team members’ history with the company and whether similar issues have occurred in the past. The mediator might also wish to know about what goes on during a typical day at the business to get a better idea of what employees experience on a daily basis. However, some mediators speak relatively briefly with managers and prefer to work with the employees in conflict directly.

Meeting With the Team Members Individually

Once the mediator is settled in, they call for individual meetings with each party. This allows the employees to talk about their “side of the story” in exhaustive detail with an objective person who is not there to judge or make accusations. Mediation between two employees usually starts this way, since there is no risk of inflammatory comments and reactions as one person talks about the problem. The mediator takes notes or records the conversations so they have reference materials to refer to later in the mediation process. Both of these activities also help the mediator devise solutions that satisfy both parties.

Meeting With the Team Members Together

Once the mediator has had time to speak with the employees individually about the conflict, they schedule a meeting with both team members. Because employees have had time to discuss the issue privately and air what they feel is upsetting or hurtful about the situation, the chances of “venting” during the joint session lessens. The team members in question might even feel “lighter” after talking about the problem in detail, and more willing to move forward regarding possible solutions.

The mediator allows both sides to speak while making it clear that interruptions are not tolerated. They encourage the employees to use “I” statements, since they sound less accusatory. For example, one of the employees might say something like, “I felt disrespected when I heard [the other employee] saying getting emails from me is something they dread” or “I get frustrated when [x employee] interrupts me during team meetings, even though their comments are usually warranted.”

Offering Potential Solutions

Once the mediator has heard both parties discuss the conflict in exhaustive detail, they offer customized solutions that help prevent further discord and strife. Perhaps the coworkers need to work on separate floors for a time until they feel collaborating in the same space is possible, or there are communication issues among the entire team that need addressing. Maybe both parties need to compromise about actions the other feels are inappropriate or hurtful, or open feedback with the manager is best.

No matter what resolution suits the coworker conflict the most, it is important for both parties to acknowledge their actions and feel the solution is the right next step. If either party does not like the proposed resolution for any reason, more conflicts can arise in the future. It is the mediator’s job to ensure everyone involved walks away satisfied, and they will work tirelessly until a viable solution is agreed upon.

Keeping a mediator on retainer is not a bad idea, since doing so can help nip future conflicts before they become severe! For more about what mediation between two employees entails, visit Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today.

Kent McGroarty

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