We were approached recently by a charity which carries out vital work supporting vulnerable people in the community. The employees were giving 100% to the work they did. But unfortunately pressure to make limited funding go a long way led to greater and greater demands on the staff. And cracks were beginning to show.
Mediation sorted out in 10 days what could have taken months to resolve via internal disciplinary and external tribunal processes-all of which would have placed a drain on those very resources which were so precious to the charity.
We carried out pre-meetings lasting an hour on average with the two staff members at the heart of the issues. Both were relieved to have someone impartial to talk to about the situation. Nobody wanted the stress caused by the conflict. But they did not know how to get out of the situation without losing at worst their jobs, or (what some people would find equally difficult ) their sense of self worth and being valued for the work they were doing.
After one joint session of under 3 hours, the people involved had a resolution.They had found a mutually acceptable way forward. It was a 'win win' one, where everyone could emerge intact, misunderstandings cleared up and HR were simply informed that the mediation had a succesful outcome.
I love doing this work because nobody wants to have a bad time at work, nobody wants to dread the place where they spend so much time. There is a will to sort things out. But people sometimes need an independent communications expert to help them on their way.