Originally printed on Lexology September, 2012
We have recently undertaken a survey on workplace mediation in association with Alison Love an accredited workplace mediator and one of our Forbury People consultants. Alison reports on the findings here.
The survey looked at the use of mediation and what barriers there might be to the use of mediation as well as success rates and what if any further information or support might be required.
The headline results are:
- 62.5% of those responding had used mediation as a means to resolve workplace disputes. This is consistent with national surveys, for example a recent CIPD survey indicated something in the region of 65%.
- Of those who had used mediation, 100% were successful. This is a fabulous result and exceeds most industry claims that mediation will be successful in 90% of cases.
- There is some debate about how you define success and (unfortunately) little in the way of real empirical studies to support this but whatever way you look at it, this result supports the business case for mediation brilliantly.
- Where mediation had been proposed but not used this was due largely to a lack of agreement between the parties. I am a firm believer that the process has to be voluntary and that any attempt to make it mandatory will devalue the process.
- However it might be that more could be done to ensure that potential parties have sufficient information to make an informed choice.
- The circumstances in which mediation would be considered was quite evenly split. A break down in relationships scored the highest at 83.3% which is perhaps not surprising as mediation is ideal in these situations to enable the parties to better understand each other and consider different perspectives. Grievances, disciplinary (other than gross misconduct) and bullying and harassment all came in with very similar scores of around 66%. Performance scored 41.7% with long term ill-health 33.3% and gross misconduct at 16.7%. It is understandable that gross misconduct may not be appropriate for mediation particularly in serious cases but there might be greater opportunities to use mediation successfully in performance or ill-health cases.
- The majority of cases (70%) used mediation where there was an on-going relationship with 30% of cases using it to resolve issues following termination.
- Disappointingly perhaps, 62.5% did not use mediation because it had not been considered an option and 37.5% due to lack of information. This suggests that there is still much to be done to raise awareness of the benefits, the potential uses and how the mediation process works. Responses to questions on additional information also reflected this.
- In response to questions regarding additional options, conflict management training scored the highest at 83.3%. Again this is consistent with CIPD research. Interesting there was also high levels of interest in conflict coaching, investigations and facilitated meetings.
Overall the results (from my perspective at least) are very encouraging. A 100% success rate is particularly pleasing. Also much can be done to overcome the main barriers and reasons for lack of use by providing further information and awareness raising and we can also assist in the other areas of support indicated. More detailed analysis and information on these areas will follow in next month’s bulletin so watch out for further details. In the meantime, my thanks go to all those who took the time to complete the survey, it is much appreciated.