1.1 Understanding Workplace Mediation (Employers)
Hello, my name is Anna Faoagali, I am the Director and Principal of Evolve Workplaces. Today this short video, it will run for about five to seven minutes and I am targeting this video to employers, so managers, HR, who want to or are considering engaging us to conduct a workplace mediation facility staff.
Accredited, Experienced, We All Use The Same Process
So what you need to know about us is that I have been doing this for about 20 years and every Evolve mediator uses exactly the same process.
So it doesn’t matter whether I’m delivering it or another mediator is delivering it, the information that I’m giving to you today is consistent across all of our mediators.
We Service Australia-Wide
The second thing is, is this particular process that Evolve uses is designed for workplaces. So it’s designed to work with employers and also employees to create more harmonious relationships.
The Process Intakes
And what we do is we meet with each party individually, each participant, so just for a two‑person mediation, we’ll meet with them in the morning. So we usually put aside an hour for each of the participants and then we also meet with you, the employer, we put an hour aside for you as well, usually HR attends, the manager and anyone else who has an interest in those parties moving forward. So sometimes we get five people at those. They’re a good opportunity to understand a little bit more about what we do and meet us, and also for us to get an insight into what’s happened.
So we like to know things like what happened that this is now a thing for them, we want to know the background, we want to understand what your expectations are. We want to know what any catalysts were that occurred that makes it relevant now because sometimes they may have had conflicts for about 12 months prior to it, so what’s happened that they think it’s going to be necessary to have this type of intervention now.
We also want to know what your expectations are of the participants. In the mediation we want to also understand how you’re going to support them after the mediation, like what infrastructure are you going to put in place to support them to keep their agreements moving forward. So that’s what we talk about in our intakes with you.
This Helps Us Assess Whether Mediation is Appropriate
Basically we do the intakes and then after the intakes we hold the joint session. Make – pending everything is in order and we then – that it’s appropriate to move forward and that it’s not going to put anyone at further risk, we’ll go to the joint session in the afternoon.
The Process – The Joint Session
And we always put aside three hours for that. Now a lot of time people say to us, oh that’s a lot of time, all right, I don’t know if I need all that time. You might be right, and if they don’t need the time we’re not going to force them to be in the room, but what we do find is most people use that time. If you don’t need it, fine, we will finish the mediation and that’s it. But yeah we do ask that that time is put aside because there’s nothing worse than getting into your mediation and then being constrained by the time.
What Happens Next? Post-Mediation
So what happens after the mediation? So where the parties have had a successful mediation and they’ve come up with some agreements, the mediator will work with them to capture those agreements in writing. Once they are captured and they reflect exactly what the parties intentions are moving forward then the mediator will email the manager or HR or whoever the designated person is and also cc in those parties into that email and you’ll get an email with some basic information capturing the three things that we always recommend which is to meet with the parties post-mediation, get some feedback, determine whether they need anything else to help them keep their agreements and schedule a time to review how their relationship is progressing. You’ll get that email with those recommendations in that email.
And then normally we don’t de-brief. Normally we don’t really hear from you again, right, unless you want another mediation. Normally that’s enough for the parties to move forward and it’s a foundation from which they can build their relationship.
Yeah, so if they don’t reach agreement, if they’re unable to reach agreement despite their best efforts or where we have terminated the mediation, either the mediator has, or one of the parties has, you can expect a phone call from us. We will also follow that up with a letter explaining why in our view the mediation failed. In those circumstances you then need to look to your policies and procedures and determine what further action you need to take, usually after the mediation because the mediation is an informal process. It’s an opportunity for the employees to demonstrate to you that they’re able to navigate through that, but that’s not always possible. And so when it’s not possible the employer needs to go back to the drawing board and work out, well how best are we going to manage this moving forward. Mostly that will involve initiating a more formal process like performance management, disciplinary action depending on what they – the sorts of complaints are, and counter complaints are. It might be training, it might be counselling, it might be a range of interventions that you’ll now need to consider.
I just want to add here too that making agreements and keeping agreements are two different things. So we’re really good at making agreements mostly. However, we are not particularly skilled at keeping those agreements over time. So it’s really important that post-mediation, that if you have the funds to support your staff to develop these skills then it’s recommended that you explore those with those participants.
So, yeah, that’s basically it in a nutshell. That’s what our process is. Please feel free to call us and ask us some more questions if you have any and I look forward to working with you.
Okay, bye for now.