‘Prevention is better than Cure’ – we all know this is true and though every organisation large and small can head off disaster – very few do!! Conflict in the workplace seems to be increasing and often escalating to formal dispute and grievance processes quickly.
The consequences can easily run into thousands of pounds in legal fees, plus the indirect costs in management time, lost productivity, team disruption, time off due to stress and/or suspension, damage to reputation, also the collateral costs in staff retention and recruitment. Trouble spreads too – increasing numbers of staff get drawn in.
Over the past year we have noticed an increasing number of workplace mediations seem to follow after the grievance claim has been made and suspensions have taken place. The grievance is often not upheld – appeals made and still not upheld. The parties involved are disappointed and angry and feel they have no control going forward and often choose more formal action. The rights and wrongs are irrelevant to the parties’ feelings. The relationship has broken down – only then does someone think ‘let’s offer mediation’!! Better late than never, but by this stage everyone is entrenched and getting the relationship back on track is a steeper challenge even with the best mediator. Why not mediate first? Why make it worse before making it better?
An example – we were called in to an organisation where forty people were in dispute in one way or another. Grievance procedures and tribunals aplenty – but after an investigation by two Focus workplace experts, involving all parties, the root causes started to emerge and effective corrective action was taken. No emphasis on rights and wrongs – just on problems and solutions. All grievances and formal actions except one were resolved and withdrawn. One person left, some had some coaching and regular meetings were set up to improve communication – harmony was restored. Not something achievable via a tribunal or grievance process, yet that is often the first thought.
Why not put in place a sound Facilitation and/or Mediation process with expert workplace mediators? Then parties can have access to resolve real and/or perceived grievances in a safe/ confidential and informal manner. Everyone will feel understood and have some control over the outcome. Common sense surely?
So – stop the madness! – Contact Focus Mediation NOW for a free initial consultation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01908 231132 for workplace mediation in most areas of the country.