Emma Hunter Workplace Mediation offers:

The ability to swiftly resolve practical problems and interpersonal issues in the workplace. I have been a professionally qualified workplace mediator since 2009 and a member of the Cross Government Workplace Mediation Panel. I mediate between employee and employee, or line manager and employee. It could be a workplace issue which has the potential to reach an Employment Tribunal but more usually it is a workplace conflict that is not heading towards an Employment Tribunal but is having an effect on the atmosphere in the workplace and/or productivity. In the majority of cases, the organisation wishes to retain both employees but cannot get them to work well together.

If you have any of the following issues in your organisation, then I am able to mediate:

• Allegations of bullying and harassment

• Personality clashes

• Line management tensions

• Attitude, communication and behavioural issues

• Perceived discrimination and cultural conflicts

• Performance management grievances

• Working style differences

Frequently an organisation may attempt to try their own ‘in-house’ mediation between the two parties concerned, with an unqualified mediator. This can result in the issue actually becoming greater.

The benefits to an organisation of employing a workplace mediator to deal with their workplace conflict are:

• At the operational level:

• Solving of the dispute

• Gives line managers their time back

• Improves customer service

• Reduces absence

• Improves team work

At the strategic level:

• Improves employee engagement

• Improves organisational health and well-being

• Can be linked to operational and financial reviews

• Increases the likelihood of achieving organisational objectives

• Helps organisational learning

• Reduces business risk

• Helps form succession planning

As an external workplace mediator, I benefit the organisation by arriving with no prior knowledge of the parties and thus more likely to gain the trust of both parties more readily, I am able to provide the organisation with a fresh view of possible cultural or organisational issues, and I have the experience of having mediated a wide variety of issues in a wide variety of organisations.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a well established process for resolving disagreements or disputes between two or more people, quickly and effectively, without the need to resort to more lengthy and formal methods, such as complaints or Employment Tribunals.

With my help as a qualified mediator, I will work with the parties to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution.

The parties, rather than the mediator, decide on the terms of the settlement and it is therefore essential that all the parties have a genuine desire to resolve the dispute. The mediator avoids taking sides, making judgements or imposing solutions. The mediator is responsible for developing effective communications and building consensus between the parties. My aim is to help both parties find a mutually agreeable solution to the problem.

The process is completely voluntary and therefore no-one is forced to take part in mediation and any of those involved can choose to withdraw from the process at any time.

Mediations are completely confidential and the information discussed within them will not be disclosed to anyone; however, by law, I am obliged to pass on certain information regarding evidence of any criminal offences to the police.

 

What is the process that I use?

The mediation usually takes place at the organisation’s location in a suitably quiet room, or it can take place at an agreed neutral venue. At the start of the mediation process the parties will be asked to sign an agreement to mediate; this is not legally binding and will be destroyed at the end of the mediation process.

 I will meet separately with each party, normally on the same morning. Individual meetings take around 1½ hours and are confidential sessions. In the event that more time is needed, a second individual meeting can be arranged. The purpose of me meeting with each party privately is to find out each individual’s views of the situation. I will assist each party in considering what needs to happen and what each party needs from the other person involved.

Following on from the individual meetings, if both parties are content to go ahead with the face-to-face joint mediation, then this will follow in the afternoon. The aim of this joint session is for the parties to consider how to create a better working relationship. I will use my skills as the mediator to assist both parties to talk about this. Usually the joint session lasts between 2-4 hrs. The total time taken for the mediation to be concluded varies from case to case. In the majority of cases, the entire mediation can be completed within one working day – 0900-1700 hrs.

 Following the joint mediation and providing it has been successful, a brief agreement between the other parties will be written by myself. Agreements reached in mediation are: based on trust, not legally binding, and focused on what needs to happen in the future, rather than being reports based on the past.

Fantastic result

Emma came into my organisation as a professional mediator to diffuse an escalating situation between two senior departmental managers who refused to work together. Her conflict resolution skills, tact and diplomacy brought the situation to a positive conclusion that none of the parties involved would have previously thought possible. The managers were both resistant to a third party being brought in, but by the end of the session they were won over by the process and the skills deployed by Emma. Without her intervention, it was was looking like an employment tribunal would have been the eventual outcome, but instead Emma was able to empower the managers to collaboratively reach a situation where both felt that they could return to work in an environment where they both felt comfortable. As a line manager this was a fantastic result as we could all stay on course to meet business objectives, and the individuals involved felt that their needs and concerns had been taken seriously.

S.B. Commanding Officer, Army Education Centre, Ministry of Defence