Conflict can negatively influence product or service quality and customers' perceptions. When friction between individuals becomes more than just dislike and the workplace is suffering, action is required. Sometimes your normal interventions may not resolve the situation; in which case mediation may be beneficial.
Employers Council helps members with these difficult circumstances. Our OD professionals can assess the situation and determine if mediation is appropriate. If so, we can mediate the conflict to help the employees resolve their issues and work effectively together.
Mediation may be appropriate when:
- Work has suffered and other employees are affected;
- The manager has talked with the parties several times, and the situation has not improved or has deteriorated;
- The problem has affected morale throughout the team or department;
- You fear losing employees if the problem continues; or
- It is apparent that you will need to terminate one or both employees if the problem isn't resolved
Join Employers Council for access to OD experts who can help determine whether mediation is needed and navigate your organization through conflict.
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Why Mediation is Worth It
When workplace conflict arises, it's important to address it quickly and effectively before it escalates. However, some conflicts are unavoidable as organizations change and grow, and mediation can help avert the high cost of employee turnover or legal action in extreme cases. In recent years,
EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) rulings have emphasized the importance of pursuing mediation to help mitigate the escalation of a conflict. Mediation provides an opportunity to initiate dialogue that may not have been available before. Sometimes claimants just want to be heard and the problem can be resolved in a conversation.
Resources on Conflict Management
For more information on the importance and facilitation of conflict management skills, read these articles from Employers Council OD consultants and development experts:
FAQs on Mediation and Conflict Management
How do I identify a workplace conflict?
Most often, conflict in the workplace is noticeable when employees complain about co-worker behavior, blame other co-workers for a lack of productivity, or there is a failure to complete an assortment of tasks.
When should management intervene in a workplace conflict?
It is best to intervene early rather than late. If the conflict continues to escalate, greater intervention may be required.
What types of intervention might be appropriate in a workplace conflict?
If a conflict has just begun and neither party is troubled by it, simply asking the participants to speak to one another may be the best way to manage the disagreement. As conflict escalates, different interventions are either required or applicable. For example, if there is conflict due to an employee's complaint of illegal harassment, an investigation is required by law. If instead, conflict is between two individuals that keep arguing about work or a particular task, mediation may be the best course of action.
How do I know if a conflict has been managed successfully?
If employees report there is no more conflict, and co-workers who have witnessed the conflict state that they are no longer aware any conflict exists, this is a good sign that the conflict has eased. Still, employers should continue to check with employees to make certain that there are no flare-ups of the same conflict.
Join Employers Council for access to Organizational Development experts who can help with conflict management, conflict resolutions skills, or conflict mediation.
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