How to effectively use mediation at work?
In the event of individual conflicts in the company, how should we proceed today?
In general, adversity in a professional relationship refers to situations in which one or more employees express negative consequences for their health, due to the relationships that they must forge in connection with their profession. Following an alert to the HRD and / or the CHSCT, on a potential situation of harassment or conflict, managers must put in place an intervention in order to protect the person as well as the company.
When we talk about mediation, what exactly does it mean?
Mediation is a practice that relies on the intervention of a third party to facilitate the resolution of difficulty in a relationship. It can be associated with arbitration or conciliation, where there is an established need to improve communication skills.
In what cases or in what types of situations is mediation useful? There are 4 types of relationship issues.
A content conflict: People disagree. It suffices to clarify the disagreement to facilitate the regulation of the relational tensions. Mediation is not inevitably necessary at this level.
Relationship conflict: People disagree on any type of content. In this case, it is worth discussing about the systemic nature of the relationship. Consequently, the need for a mediator becomes probable.
Hyper conflict: People can't stand the relationship anymore, it has become "toxic" for them, and they seek to destroy the other to eradicate the relationship. A mediator thus becomes compulsory. At this stage, the challenge is to facilitate a separation with as little violence (physical and psychological) as possible.
A situation of harassment: Repeated onslaughts are aimed at the integrity of the target. There can be no mediation apart from a tertiary prevention and disciplinary sanction strategy. Legal action may be considered.
A tripartite meeting time between HR, the mediator and the people concerned (separately) is recommended, in order to announce the rules of the game and avoid intended manipulation.
A face-to-face interview between the mediator and each of the protagonists (the people concerned) can ease the process.
The mediator makes a diagnosis on the nature of the situation and will define the next steps accordingly. He shares the diagnosis with HR, making his recommendations, then repeats the same process with the protagonists, separately. This validates the willingness of the actors to push the mediation process further.
Depending on the diagnosis, the protagonists are brought together to share their disagreements, their expectations and negotiate possible solutions.
The feedback process is carried out at the end of the mission with the HR and the board of the company, in order to identify the contextual elements that may have incited the situation.
What are the key success factors of mediation at work?
- The legitimacy of the mediator
- The initial framing of the mission
- Everyone's goodwill
- HR availability
- The global approach (organization-management-individual)
What would be the selection criteria for the mediator to propose to the parties?
First off, the legitimacy of the mediation helps in his "ritualization". The fact that he is also a consultant would only be beneficial, considering that he needs to have a complete outlook to assess the situation.
Secondly, seeing as he works in a multidisciplinary way in his network, he would need to integrate diversified logics (human, legal, organizational, medical, etc.), allowing him to rely on other skills, if necessary.
Gaining intensive experience in different sectors would give him a great capacity for synthesis and prevent him from declaring himself a "tenant" of the company. ("Ha yes, I was also in this position")
Should we have a preference for a particular profile (lawyer, mediator, psychologist)? Each profile has advantages and disadvantages. The most important element is the way in which he uses his speaking skills as a lever in the accomplishment of his mission.