Workplace Mediation: Outsource or In-house?

HR is often the first port of call when a line manager has a ‘people problem’ they need resolving.  You’re probably familiar with the following scenario – Bob gives you a call to say two of his team, Jane and Jackie haven’t been getting on for a while and last week it blew up when they had an argument in the office.  Bob tried to resolve it by telling them both to ‘sort it out or there would be consequences’, but there’s been no improvement and it’s starting to affect team performance.  Bob’s out of ideas and employee wellness is important to him so he needs you, his trusty HR Manager, to find a solution.


cic workplace mediation


What’s your next step (apart from booking Bob onto CiC’s conflict resolution and mediation training)?  Our guess is you’ll have a quick chat with Jane and Jackie individually to find out what’s going on.  You hear they used to be friends but a couple of months back there was a disagreement and since then their relationship has gone downhill.  Jackie asks you about taking out a, workplace bullying, grievance against Jane for her behavior during the shouting match.


cic workplace mediation scrabble


Hopefully before discussing your grievance procedure with Jackie you’ll stop to think about the whole range of options available to you.  Is a formal process the best option here?  From what you can tell, this sounds like a relationship issue where it is not black and white as to who is at fault. Jane and Jackie are valued employees and Bob wants to keep them both in the team but something needs to be done before the situation causes workplace stress and major team disruption.  This is the kind of case where you should be thinking about mediation to resolve things informally.


The next bit might surprise you. You are probably thinking CiC, with our team of professional mediators, are going to say this is an ideal case to get on the phone and bring us in to deliver a mediation and conflict resolution course to Jane and Jackie. But that might not be the ideal option, and this is why we offer free consultation over the phone.


If you do bring one of our teams (CiC use a two-step mediator approach) in to help, our approach begins with a half day of premeditation, which will ultimately let you know if the situation is solvable, thereby avoiding wasted money on a day of full mediation. This will also let you know if this is a case that can be handled in-house, although this might have already been ascertained during the free consultancy call, depending on the situation.


Of course we would be happy to help, with our mediation and conflict resolution course, if that’s what you wanted but really with this kind of situation, and with the right skill set, HR could address this in-house. It is mainly around a single issue and is a low level conflict i.e. they are still talking to each other albeit with difficulty, others have not yet been drawn in etc. With some careful handling it should be possible to nip it in the bud. So do you really need to bring CiC in?  Even with our cost effective mediation and conflict resolution rates, you will probably be thinking about saving your company’s money for trickier cases.


But would you know where to start?  This is where the problem lies. Whilst many HR professionals are aware of mediation, few have been trained to practice it. What is more, the training is out there is either a quick overview of the skills or full mediation training. The latter is vast overkill for the typical HR Manager who needs the basics so they can handle the odd issue without mediating day in day out.


They do however need to know the fundamentals of the mediation approach or they could risk making the situation much worse. What you probably need is a short course on conflict resolution and mediation, which will also provide you with reference materials as part of a Toolkit – a step by step process to follow and some key skills and knowledge. This should be a standard part of the resources available to the HR Manager and CiC can offer you exactly this.


cic workplace mediation hand shake


If you are interested in the number of options available, wish to engage in a free consulting session or have a few questions you need answered then by all means give us a call.


We have you covered, whether you need to call us in to help resolve an isolated conflict or if you are interested in conflict mediation training your own in-house person, or an entire mediation team, our training comes along with accredited UK certification, which is not the case with many of our competitors.