Mediation has often been described as “turbo charged” negotiation. It is a way of resolving disputes by consensus. In the employment setting this can either be by resolving breakdowns in relationships between employees – known as workplace mediation – or it can be used to resolve disputes after an employee has left the employer – often termed employment mediation.
The process works by the mediator establishing a safe setting within which challenges can be discussed and solutions explored. Discussions are held on what is known as a “without prejudice” basis which means that individuals can talk freely, without worrying that what is said will be used against them elsewhere as what is said in the mediation stays there. The mediator will often spend time on a 1:1 basis with each of the participants to get a feel of the position and to build up rapport. This will build into joint meetings, particularly where the aim is to restore working relationships.
In practice mediation is very successful in achieving resolution of disputes and it enables the parties to retain control at all times. Nigel Tillott, is one of the region’s most experienced mediators.