What happens during workplace mediation?

Usually a day will be set aside for a workplace mediation to take place.

The importance of confidentiality will be explained. What makes mediation different when compared with other processes, such as grievance meetings and employment tribunal hearings, is that parties meet and have an opportunity to speak directly with each other. It is therefore essential for those who attend to know that they are able to say what they need to say, without fearing that what they are saying may subsequently be used against them.

The mediator will have initial and separate private meetings with each party. These will be strictly confidential. This is each person's opportunity to speak in confidence with an independent third party who is completely unconnected to the organisation. The mediator will gain an insight into what has happened and will explain how the mediation will progress. Then a meeting will take place with everyone present. This is the parties' opportunity to speak directly with each other. This might be the first time the parties have spoken for some time. Each party will listen carefully to the other. They will engage in a dialogue as the issues are discussed and become clearer.

Often new information will come to light and parties will gain a greater understanding of each other's position. This allows possible resolutions to be discussed and agreed. During these discussions the mediator will help to ensure that each person is being understood by the other, and will contribute to the thought process of what a solution to the problem might look like. 

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