"With tribunal costs on the increase it's critical that workplace disputes are resolved before they get to Court. " So starts the article in Personnel Today which looks at the cost to business of work place disputes. I was asked to contribute to present the mediation side of the argument.
My view is that people at work have become increasingly process-driven and have lost the confidence to deal with things on their own.
Mediation is becoming increasingly popular because, unlike arbitration where an expert third party makes a judgement on a situation, the process is about two parties coming to an agreement with the help of a trained facilitator. And at a cost of around £750-£850 a day to hire an external mediator, it offers employers much better value for money than going all the way to tribunal.
I think one reason why mediation is not used more widely in employment disputes is because there is no compulsion for companies to try it.
But in civil disputes, such as divorces, and commercial grievances, the law compels the parties to try mediation unless there is good reason why they can't. It involves bravery and for the two sides to be open and frank and to want to come to a workable solutions.
With the government pledging an additional £37m to Acas for additional mediation and related services over the next three years, it look as if more employers will be encouraged to give mediation a go.
There is too much emphasis on process and law in employment disputes; Mediation is one way to cut through this.
We're encouraging HR professionals to take a close look at mediation and to keep employee disputes out of Court. Our recently published White Paper (free to download from the Human Law Medaition wesbite) - Keeping Away from Employment Disputes and Court Room Battles - provides a Guide on how to approach workplace disputes and a full exploration of all the options available.