• Nicola Lewis

Why employers should look to mediation before grievance procedures kick in.

A grievance: 'a feeling of resentment over something believed to be wrong or unfair.'

Employers are required to have a grievance procedure in place. Which is the step before an appeal, which is the step before...things growing in size and leading, worst case to a formal very public complaint in the Employment Tribunal.

5 good reasons to mediate:

  1. The cost and time of staff members in dealing with the grievance process can be far greater than you envisage.

If witnesses are interviewed and transcipts taken (as I have come across on numerous occasions) there are also professional support costs.

  1. In mediation, the costs at LMW are fixed at the outset of the process. You know what financial resource needs to be allocated. You will not need to allocate hours and hours of your HR people's time in dealing with this.

  2. There is inevitable disruption to the working environment where a grievance process has been started. Phones ring, staff members are asked to come and give their version of events, looks are exchanged. This can all have a negative impact on the workplace atmosphere, on morale and productivity.

  3. Mediation is confidential. Everything can be sorted out between the relevant people without announcements having to be made.This also means that the communication within a mediation meeting is likely to be more open, honest and the mediator can help people to get to a point where a real resolution can be found.

  4. Where mediation takes place, quite often a flaw in the system surrounding the employee is uncovered.Could be that line manager meetings need to take place more often for example in order to enable the employee to work effectively. Once the employer is aware of the issue, he can discretely deal with it with the minimum of fuss.

  5. By mediating we can often separate the people from the problem. This means that things become less personal, people feel less besieged, blamed or that they are being treated unfairly. Things can move on after mediation without the feeling of blame, or fear of recrimination.

Did I say 5..?

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