Mediation Works: An Opportunity for Resolution
People bring different perspectives, work styles, and personalities to the workplace and will naturally find themselves in conflict. Conflict in the workplace might just be a co-worker in the next cubicle talking too loudly or miscommunication between a supervisor and an employee regarding job expectations. The University introduced the Workplace Mediation program to help staff deal with workplace conflict in a constructive way and to promote a collaborative work environment.
The University developed a pool of approximately 40 trained mediators from its on-campus staff who serve as neutral and unbiased facilitators of the mediation process. During the session the mediators help the participants identify the issues, discuss options for addressing those issues, and sometimes draft a written agreement. The process, which usually takes 2-3 hours, is not meant to find fault, but rather is focused on making things better and helping people come up with a plan for how to move forward in positive ways. As one participant commented at the conclusion of a session, "This process will provide a roadmap for the successful outcome we want to achieve."
Since its launch about a year ago, the program has facilitated 13 mediations and consistently receives feedback on the success of the process to promote open and candid dialogue in a private and confidential setting:
- The mediation provided an open atmosphere to speak my mind.
- It helped us learn what was important to each other.
- I was able to freely express my thoughts and feelings without being judged.
- Because there was a neutral mediator, I felt free to express my feelings.