Mediation is increasingly popular as an effective way of resolving disputes. The new ACAS code places emphasis on using less formal methods, including mediation, to reduce conflict and cost. Most cases that enter mediation are settled and generally both sides come well out of it. Contrast this to the litigation process that is unpredictable, produces winners and losers and the remedy is often blunt and limited. In mediation you retain control of the process compared to litigation where even the best cases are not certain to succeed. It is reported to be more effective than the use of Grievance Procedures and less stressful. Mediation is the bridge between direct negotiation and the legal system. It tells the other party that you are serious but that you want them to come voluntarily to the negotiating table while they still have a chance.
Mediation works because it:
- turns a two way fight into a three way search for a solution.
- does not prevent you seeking independent legal advice.
Mediation is a specialist area. A qualified mediator will seek to broker a voluntary agreement between two sides in a dispute. This may be between employer and employee, between different individuals or groups in the workplace, or even potentially between directors or senior managers in a company.Mediation is a very well defined process which ensures fairness and equity for both sides, complete confidentiality and a safe environment in which to operate. It has a very high success rate because of its voluntary nature. Used properly it can often diffuse difficult situations long before either side resorts to the law.Mediation’s strength is that it does not have the power to impose an agreement, so a mediated settlement created voluntarily by both sides can be very powerful.
- Confidentiality – Mediation is confidential and disputes can be resolved away from the glare of publicity.
- As it is completely voluntary, either side can walk away at any time.
- A cheaper and quicker agreement than an Employment Tribunal.
- Parties are generally more satisfied than with solutions that are imposed by a third party.
- They are also more likely to follow through and comply with its terms.
- Mediated settlements are able to address any issues, not just those that concern the law. They often cover procedural and psychological issues that courts and tribunals cannot consider. The parties can tailor their settlement to their particular situation.
- Gains and losses are more predictable in a mediated settlement than they would be if a case is arbitrated or adjudicated.
- Mediation can occur early in the process – it can address all parties’ interests and can often preserve a working relationship in ways that would not be possible in a win/lose procedure. Mediation can also make the termination of a relationship more amicable.
- The nature of the mediation process tries to keep conflict at bay and work to the requirements of both parties.
BackupHR™’s Consultants are experienced in conflict resolution and have been using the process successfully for many years.