Conflict at work can be an inherent part of the employment relationship but differences can easily escalate and have a negative impact if not addressed early. Some situations, such as serious harassment complaints, are best addressed through formal procedures. But there will be many occasions where a less formal and more conciliatory approach is the most constructive way to resolve conflict between individuals. Mediation is one such technique and can be a powerful tool to help resolve problems and restore working relationships. HR professionals should consider how mediation can be part of an organisation’s approach to conflict management and early resolution.  

HR professionals should always consider mediation as a possible way to resolve a conflict. The guiding principle for the effective use of mediation is that the parties enter the process voluntarily and seek to implement an agreed solution. 

This guide sets out what mediation is and when it may be useful. It explores the critical success factors for its effective use, considers the differences between internal and external mediation, as well as the practicalities of selecting and training mediators for an internal mediation scheme. 

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