Last week, the Civil Mediation Council (CMC) hosted a workplace mediation event titled ‘Save Time, Save Money, Save Stress – Make Mediation Work for You’. We were delighted to be asked to be on the panel at the event and to have three of our clients, who all use workplace mediation, speak at the event.
One of our clients, Mark Clements, Regional Head of HR for the UK and Ireland at Sony Europe, spoke with a lot of humour about his experience of having to unlearn things that he would usually do as an HR professional once he trained as a workplace mediator. Contrary to what most HR professionals do, workplace mediators don’t make suggestions or give advice. So Mark now adopts a different approach: he listens to parties in conflict, lets them listen to each other, impartially facilitates a conversation between them, and thus supports them to come to their own mutually acceptable resolution. This is part of what makes mediation so effective.
Another client, Robert Alcock, Head of Training at the BBC’s Training Academy, gave a heart-felt presentation about the highs and lows of being an internal workplace mediator at the BBC. Fortunately, there are many more highs than lows to the role! However, one of the lows that many internal mediators experience is not having enough time to mediate in addition to their day jobs. The highs described by Rob were how rewarding it is to be part of a successful mediation and how transformational it can be for the parties involved.
Our third client, Karl Cockerill, is not only a Union Rep but also Health & Wellbeing Practitioner and Mediation Coordinator at East Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. He described his fascinating journey from “grievance king” and a huge sceptic of mediation, to becoming the Trust’s mediation coordinator. I remember Karl well from the training course that I delivered at the Trust with my colleague Karen Bailey. Karl went through a huge transformation during the course. Karl’s speech marks the importance of involving unions when a mediation service is set up oriz4dr. What the Trust has found is that, because Karl is both a union rep and a mediator, he is able to channel a very large number of conflict cases towards mediation, therefore eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming formal processes. The benefits of this approach are enormous, not just in terms of saving the Trust money and time, but also shielding staff members from the significant stress of going through a formal process. In this way, mediation has the potential to hugely contribute to employee wellbeing.
We hope that delegates who attended the event were as fascinated by the stories that they heard as we were, and that they will embrace workplace mediation with the same passion as our clients do.