Mediation is increasingly being used to resolve disputes and conflict in many areas of life. It is one of the processes within the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) spectrum and involves a neutral third party bringing two sides together with the aim of reaching a mutual agreement.

Policy-makers and organisations are increasingly recognising that mediation, and other forms of ADR, have a particular resonance in the workplace. People are the key to organisational success and productivity, and negative conflict between individuals or groups can severely hamper an organisation’s drive for competitive advantage and damage employee wellbeing.

Mediation is especially effective when used at the initial phase of any disagreement, before conflict escalates in the workplace. An early intervention can prevent both sides from becoming entrenched, and the situation turning into a full-blown dispute. It has been shown to reduce levels of grievances and, where these would have led to a tribunal, it provides a far cheaper response than the employment tribunal process.

Moreover, employment tribunals do not resolve systemic problems at work that may underlie an individual dispute. Mediation is more likely to enable the employer to get beneath the problem and make changes to working practices that can benefit employees and the organisation in the long term.

This joint publication by the CIPD and Acas aims to help employers, trade unions and employees decide whether and in what circumstances mediation may be suitable for them.

The impact of conflict in the workplace

What is mediation?

When can you use mediation?

The benefits of mediation

Implementing mediation in your organisation

Managing the mediation process

Evaluation

Introducing mediation: good practice points

Useful contacts

Acknowledgements

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