Often mediation is overlooked as companies jump straight to the disciplinary and grievance process, but mediators help those in dispute communicate about their issues of concern, and help participants find solutions that are acceptable to everyone involved. Often, both parties wish to avoid formal proceedings.
Mediation involves using a trained, neutral mediator to engage with the conflicting parties to help them work towards finding a solution that is acceptable to both sides. The Mediator listens to all views, talks to the parties privately and sometimes together, and guides each party through the process. It is a form of alternative dispute resolution which is flexible, voluntary and confidential. The neutral third-party — the ‘mediator’— helps both parties to resolve their disputes out of court by facilitating a discussion. The specially trained mediator does not take a side nor issue a decision. Instead, the mediator works with both parties, either together or separately, to help achieve a negotiated settlement.
Although mediation is not legally binding, a final agreement between the two parties, reached at mediation, can be enforced in the same way as any other contract. If a negotiated settlement cannot be achieved through mediation, then the parties can still seek dispute resolution through arbitration or litigation. However, settling disputes through mediation can be faster, cheaper and can leave both parties feeling in a better state of mind over the agreed decision, and smart business use them and see the value of avoiding the costs of a drawn-out legal battle.