What is Conflict costing your Organization?
Unmanaged conflict is the hidden cancer of any organization’s success. Every organization pays a price for avoiding and mismanaging conflict. Something that is typically displayed in the quality of work and quality of decisions distorted when employees and decision makers are in conflict. The impact of workplace conflict is immeasurable but often substantial. It is always best to not allow conflict to linger and resolve early.
Mediation is a low-cost strategy for resolving workplace conflict. Often an unknown option, Mediation can resolve most issues that emerge in the workplace. It can be a great supplement and support to conflict coaching and employee counseling. Mediation differs from traditional discipline formal grievance and complaint processes in that it is informal and more flexible yet proven to be the most viable and successful alternative to traditional investigatory methods used to resolve charges of employment discrimination, employee relations, and other workplace matters.
Dispute resolution that is no longer the alternative
Small Business Mediation
Mediation is an effective tool for small business dispute resolution. Small business owners are not exempt from conflict between business partners, employees, customers, vendors, and neighboring businesses. Too often, a result of not having dedicated human resource departments and staff attorneys to help deal with the legal aspect of resolving a conflict. It can be time consuming and financially draining for a small business to come up with the time, money, and expertise to cope with a relatively minor dispute through legal means. Just finding the time to attend court hearings to litigate a matter publicly and on public record can cost a small business owner substantially most often unbudgeted money to pay an attorney to defend the matter and their reputation in the local community. Mediation on the other hand is confidential and private. Ideally foregoing the adversarial legal process small business owners can take the chance of not only resolving but possibly reconciling the issue.
Did you know that your favorite court tv show is not real court? Rather, Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, shows like Hot Bench, and the likes are what is known as a form of A-D-R; alternative dispute resolution to resolve a civil matter brought before the court. In most instances, a civil case involves a conflict between a business or persons. To save time and money for both parties Mediation is the alternative to asking a court to make a decision and often the best way to resolve a civil conflict. Costly court proceedings may include attorney fees, expert witness fees, deposition fees, subpoena fees, all of which are not required in Mediation. Types of civil cases ideal for Mediation are:
Workplace mediation is used in a number of situations where individuals are in a conflict situation or dispute and they have an on-going employment relationship to preserve. Consider these situations where workplace conflict may be present and Mediation ideal:
Claims of discrimination, allegations, disagreements, and loss of trust are often the tip of the iceberg; below the surface are organizational systems, norms, attitudes, and patterns of behavior that foster and perpetuate conflict. Workplace Mediation has been successful and a proven effective tool not only in settling disputes and workplace grievances but also in helping to address underlying issues, repairing damaged relationships, and broken organizational systems. Mediation is future focused addressing areas where conflict does not bring about a positive workplace experience for all; providing what we call instead of a safe space, a “brave” space for participants to be open and operate in good faith to understand the issues and work together to come up with real solutions trusting that information shared through the Mediation process is held in confidence and with purpose. Because of this, Mediation is far more likely to resolve underlying matters than any formal or legal process.
Student and Peer Mediation Services
SCHOOL-BASED PEER MEDIATION
Student Alternative Dispute Resolution Training is a form of conflict resolution training in which student leaders are trained to help their peers work together to resolve disputes.
Benefits of Peer Mediation:
Peer Mediation Fosters:
Target Audience: Public and private, primary and secondary students, student leaders, and at-risks students
School-based Peer Mediation Training is one of the most popular and arguably the most effective approaches to integrating the practice of conflict resolution into schools
Campus Mediation Services
Mediation and conflict resolution education and training that provide an avenue to address and resolve conflicts for students, faculty, staff, and administrators that may include:
How people in conflict solve their own problems with the assistance of our Mediators:
Benefits of Campus Mediation
Build Conflict Capacity Through Conflict Coaching
Interpersonal conflict is said to be at least 49% of where workplace conflict comes from. Conflict coaching encourages and support the ability to develop the capacity, skills, and confidence to manage conflict more effectively. Conflict coaching:
Many leaders are unable to de-escalate conflict themselves let alone train their employees to do the same. Thus, conflict resolution is the most common developmental need for entry mid and senior level leaders. Conflict coaching can be an effective tool for individuals, leaders, and teams pre- or post Mediation.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It is an informal process that encourages participants to resolve their own disputes with the assistance of a skilled professional rather than seek resolution of their issue through the courts, by means of arbitration, or complaint channels established by outside agencies.
Both Mediation and arbitration are forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In Mediation, a neutral third party professional facilitate disputants come to a understanding and agreement on their own. The Mediator has not authority to settle. Alternatively, in arbitration the neutral third party professional acts as a judge and decides the outcome of the issue based on the facts and information presented. Control and authority to settle and make a determination is given to and rests with the arbitrator. In addition, Mediation and arbitration can be combined into a blended, hybrid process called Med-arb. If a dispute is unable to be resolved through mediation, the Mediator may switch to arbitration and render a decision. Any reluctance or concerns to information provided in the Mediation being used against their case in the arbitration phase of the Med-arb process can be addressed by having different professionals serve in the Mediator and arbitrator roles. Keeping in mind, multiple skilled professionals assigned to the case may require additional time and costs.
Our responsibility as Mediators is to assist participants in resolving their disputes. Unlike a judge if the employment issue landed in court and other formal or legal proceeding with an arbitrator, EEOC, or internal HR, our role is not to determine the facts and decide who is right or wrong. As Mediators we do not have the authority to issue a judgement or impose a decision. It is not up to us to decide the outcome rather guide participants toward their own resolution. Our primary purpose is to help clarify the issues and assist those in reaching a decision to resolve the dispute. We do this by helping to facilitate a more effective means of communication between participants where they have been stuck, help each side understand the other’s perspective and interests in relation to the dispute, identify what changes and areas of opportunity in their behaviors and interactions are necessary to support each one to work respectfully, professionally, safely, and productively together in the future. Our role is to be neutral and impartial and bring an objective ear to the situation so as to help the participants stay focused and understand the important issues needed to reach a successful resolution.
All of our Mediators are highly skilled and trained professionals with a background in human resources and alternative dispute resolution. As certified human relations professionals have hundreds of hours of training and continuing education in various forms of Mediation, interventions, techniques and conflict systems design to include facilitative dialogue, reflective structured dialogue (RSD), conflict dynamic assessments, and many other researched back HR related tools and practices. In addition, we abide by the ethics, models, and standards of conduct set by national and international associations to which we are affiliated and active members. More information can be requested for specific background on credentials and qualifications for any of our experienced professionals.
Yes, there are issues in the workplace that should not be Mediated. For example, in instances where it is reasonably believed a workplace policy has been violated an investigation should be instead of Mediation. Typically, any violence, bullying, and harassment are not ideal situations for alternative dispute resolution means; however in instances where there is a need to preserve the working relationship Mediation may be ideal to follow the HR process used to handle the matter. Screening with extra care and skill is required in these circumstances to determine if it is agreeable to work with parties together and often times separately. We will help evaluate whether the dispute is appropriate for Mediation.
Mediation can be used at any stage of a dispute. It is recommended at the earliest stage of the conflict or dispute; however can be after a formal complaint has been initiated, a legal proceeding has been initiated, or an investigation has been concluded. Offering Mediation prior to an investigation saves time and resources by avoiding the investigation of issues that that could be appropriately resolved through Mediation. In addition, allowing Mediation between participants in conflict prior to an investigation of a complaint prevents the hardening of positions that can occur during a lengthy workplace investigation. The goal of Mediation is to focus on future workplace interactions and not past actions.
Most of our sessions are held virtually. Depending the circumstances presented, Mediation may be conducted at our office or onsite. We strive for the most neutral location for participants. In situations where standard office hours are not agreeable for all participants, flexible scheduling including weekends is optional. Travel anywhere within the continental United States is available. Cost of travel and related expense for site visits must accompany appropriate lodging and location for conducting a Mediation.
Yes! BMS maintains strict confidentiality. The Mediator and the parties must sign agreements that they will keep everything is revealed during the Mediation confidential. Mediation sessions are not tape-recorded or transcribed. Our Mediators cannot and will not respond to requests for expert witness or testimony. Only general information regarding the name and number of participants involved, date, and whether an agreement was reached will be offered.
Our consultation fee is $150 an hour. During the consultation, recommended service options are provided based on client needs and followed up by a formal cost proposal with a quote for requested and suggested statement of work. Advanced payment of 50% is due upon receipt of the scheduled agreement to Mediate. All fees and remaining balance due payable in full the day of the Mediation. All fees are non-refundable.
When we are consulted by the participants in conflict directly, the fees will be split unless agreed upon otherwise. Fee sharing is important because the Mediator works for both parties. In cases of multiple parties, the party with additional persons shall be responsible for their portion of the Mediation fees. For workplace Mediations it is standard for the company to pay for the Mediator.
You don’t go to an orthopedic for heart surgery. Just the same, if conflict is ailing your organization you should seek out professionals who specialize in conflict resolution. Our experience as human relation professionals extend beyond certifications, formal training, and credentials. We are culturally competent Mediators from all walks of life. We understand the cultural issues that can influence the successful outcome of a Mediation and our Mediators are equipped to understand and relate to those we encounter in Mediation. Thus, our Mediators are capable and positioned well to assist overcoming participants resistance to trust the process and reach an agreement by using our specialized expertise in asking impactful questions and brainstorming options to a resolution that works for all participants.
At BMS, we recommended every organization include a standard ADR clause in their workplace and business agreements. If you need assistance drafting, we can help!