Workplace conflict sometimes arises in people’s everyday working lives.
In the current economic climate people are facing more stress than most of them have ever faced before. As people become more stressed they are also more prone to find themselves facing differences with colleagues and breakdowns in communication. These can all too easily lead to conflict which in turn generates more stress. By way of example a recent survey by UNISON1 found a massive increase in bullying from two years previously.
Once conflict starts others are often then also brought into it, including colleagues, employers and unions. The outcome is bad for everyone involved, and there becomes a clear need for the conflict to be resolved.
For individuals (and their colleagues) conflict means stress, loss of job satisfaction, and sometimes even a need to change jobs.
For employers conflict is costly and time consuming. It can disrupt the work place, causing loss of efficiency through stress, leading to illness and absenteeism, culminating in grievance or disciplinary hearings and loss of experienced staff. Consequences include costs of recruiting replacements, plus short-
For unions conflict is again costly and time consuming. Having members involved in conflict can result in unions having to provide support through grievance or disciplinary hearings, appeals, legal action and tribunals. This view is supported by both the TUC and by ACAS3.
Mediation offers the prospect of a win/win solution for both sides of a conflict. This can restore equilibrium to the workplace, with benefits for staff, employers and unions. The process is structured but informal, and can allow the chance to avoid formal actions.
The Cost of Workplace Conflict
The British Chambers of Commerce found that the average cost for an employer to defend themselves at tribunal in 2011 was £8,5004.
The Ministry of Justice advise5 that from summer 2013:
Taking a claim to tribunal will no longer be free
Tribunal fees will be tailored ‘to encourage businesses and workers to mediate’
The Cost of Mediation
Our rates are extremely competitive – £700.00 excluding VAT for a full day (2 mediators, aiming to complete mediation in one working day).
How Successful is Mediation?
Recent research6 has shown:
The process has a high rate of partial or complete success averaging nearly 90%
The scale of workplace conflict is remarkable, and has increased in the recession
Nearly half of employers now make more use of mediation than they did 3 years ago
Sources (see also links page):