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Mediation of Workplace Disputes

DEFINITION: Workplace Mediation is a confidential, informal and voluntary process whereby an impartial mediator facilitates communication between those in dispute to assist them in developing mutually acceptable agreements to improve their future working relationship. Mediation can be effective in both union and non-union settings and at all levels of the organization.

 

BENEFITS: Workplace Mediation offers important benefits to employers and employees alike. It provides fast, creative, mutually satisfactory resolutions. When a dispute is mediated shortly after it arises, the chances of optimal resolution are much greater: the parties' differences have not had a chance to fester, the situation is generally more fluid, and the parties have more resolution options available to them. Mediated resolutions work better and last longer than authoritatively imposed resolutions because everyone involved has a stake and buys into them. Moreover, mediation fosters mutual respect through improved communication, and can mend and preserve frayed working relationships even when the parties are extremely hurt and angry.

Mediation within the workplace generally looks very different from mediation within the context of litigation. The primary goal of workplace mediation is to leave the parties better able to work together. Traditional "settlement conferences," in which the mediator separates the parties and shuttles back and forth between them, often will not be adequate to this task; the parties need to work through their differences together.

Many disputes arise out of a failure by either party or both parties to communicate, understand or consider the needs and interests of the other. People fix their attention on the question, "Who is right and who is wrong?" and become blind to the possibility that both may have a legitimate point of view. The mediator's task is to open communications between the parties focussing on the reasons for the positions they have taken with each other, helping both parties to understand as fully as possible their own and the other's view of the situation. The mediator encourages both to look at the dispute through different lenses: What do they think will work as a practical matter? What do they think will be fair? What do they think will best honour and promote a good working relationship? As the parties gain an expanded understanding of the situation, their ability to work together toward resolution —and after resolution—increases.

The Mediation Process

A workplace mediation of low complexity can often be completed in one day with a follow-up session scheduled 1 to 3 months after. Our mediators will consult in advance with an organizational representative to clarify expectations with respect to confidentiality and reporting back, and to obtain information on the history of the conflict. Next, they will meet with each person individually (usually around one or two hours each) to understand the issues from each person’s point of view. Then (when the disputants are willing) the mediator will bring the parties together for a face-to-face mediation session (usually around two to four hours). The mediation meeting is structured in six steps in order to encourage constructive communication and clarification of the main issues, and help disputants to come up with mutually acceptable agreements as to the way forward.

These voluntary agreements are then usually written up at the end of the mediation and provide the basis for a follow-up meeting with the mediator at some point in the future in order to see how the agreements are working out.

When is Mediation Effective?

Virtually any difference that arises in the workplace can benefit from mediation if the parties are willing to deal directly with each other and if the company provides the resources for mediation. Indeed, over time, a workplace in which mediation is the preferred or presumed dispute resolution mechanism is likely to become a workplace in which colleagues and coworkers need less assistance in working through differences and begin to become natural collaborators. However, there are certain types of workplace conflicts in which any company would be well-advised to offer mediation.

These include:

1. Sexual harassment complaints. People often assume that parties to a sexual harassment complaint cannot work together to resolve the dispute. That assumption can do both parties a disservice. Many hostile environment complaints arise as a result of differences in perception about what is funny or flattering and what is offensive behavior, or they arise as a result of one person's failure to respect the other or to understand the effect of his or her behavior on the other. If the parties are willing to talk with each other, these complaints can be mediated to mutually satisfactory conclusions. The employer can save its relationship with both employees and avoid an expensive and painful lawsuit.

2. Disputes between employees. Sometimes interpersonal differences prevent coworkers from functioning effectively together. If the company needs both employees and wants them working together harmoniously, mediation can be very effective. The employees are offered a controlled setting in which to air their differences, guidance in communicating effectively about them, and a chance to make agreements about how they will function together in the future.

3. Deteriorating performance. A good employee can stop performing well for many reasons. Often, when the manager attempts to address the problem, the employee responds with fear and defensiveness, resulting in further deterioration. Mediation between them can help each understand the other's needs, requirements and requests and can yield an agreement about how they will work together in the future. Both are more likely to observe such an agreement because both had a hand in creating it.

4. Terminations. When an employer chooses to terminate an employee even though the termination poses litigation risks, mediation on the terms of the separation can be very helpful. Through the mediation process, the employee has a chance to communicate severance needs and to affect the nature and quality of the severance package, while the employer has an opportunity to eliminate its litigation exposure. Mediation can also be beneficial emotionally: the employee may never agree that the termination was warranted but will more likely feel that he or she had a fair hearing, and may come to understand the reasons for the employer's action. These realizations can make it easier for terminated employees to move ahead with their lives

TRAINING COURSES

TrainingMEDIATION INTERNATIONAL offers a wide range of training courses (both in-house and online) tailored to meet the needs of our clients.

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WHAT IS MEDIATION?

Qué es la mediacíonMediation is a method of dispute resolution in which parties to an action attempt to reach an agreement with the assistance of a mediator.

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ADR & MEDIATION

ADR & MEDIATIONMEDIATION INTERNATIONAL offers a wide range of conflict related services locally, in-house and internationally.

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ABOUT US

Qué es la mediacíonMEDIATION INTERNATIONAL has brought together some of the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the field...

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IMI QUALIFYING ASSESSMENT PROGRAM

International Mediation Institute

MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL is one of the few international mediation training organizations approved as a Qualifying Assessment Program (QAP) for IMI Certification. As such, graduates from our rigorous program have the opportunity to receive international certification and be listed on IMI´s roster of mediators.
Requirements to participate in the IMI approved course are listed on our website.

TRAINING DATES 2017-2018

 

2017

March 13-17

May  15-19

July 17-21

Sept 18-22

Oct 16-20

Nov 13-17

2018

Jan 15-19

Mar 12-16

May 14-18

July 2-6

Sept 10-14

Nov 12-16

 

MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL is a leading mediation and ADR training service provider operating throughout Spain, across Europe and internationally. We provide mediation services, basic-advanced training, mentorship and coaching, qualifications and mediation competency assessments for experienced mediators.

 

MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL offers Competency Assessments to successful and select graduates of MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL and other mediation programs. These Competency assessments are offered to individuals based on assessed competency and are designed to assess the levels of competency and performance of practicing mediators.

 

Competency assessments are offered twice annually in select regions internationally and are organised collaboratively among MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL and local mediation associations. Further information may be obtained by contacting the organiser at kevinbarrybrown (at) gmail.com

 

The advanced training programmes of MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL are detailed under each of the IMI criteria. As the IMI criteria evolves further, MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL will evolve its own program to remain consistent with the IMI criteria and the MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL website will be updated to reflect these changes.

 

 QAP Approved 2012

 

1 Mediator Experience.

The Qualifying Assessment Program (QAP) must include a methodology for ensuring that Applicants have demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Program's Assessors a substantial level of experience as a mediator. The QAP must include clearly identified criteria on this requirement.

To pursue an advanced ADR training course with MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL and achieve IMI certification, a candidate must have completed a minimum of 5 mediations (either as a sole or a lead co- mediator). Of those mediations, at least 2 must have been remunerated either on an individual case basis or salaried.

Additionally, MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL requires candidates to have completed at least 20 hours of continuing professional development in mediation through attendance of courses, workshops or seminars on ADR, mediation or related subject matters.

For a MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL accredited mediator to be qualified for IMI Certification, MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL will require that each candidates experience exceeds 200 hours (the equilavent of 20 mediations) as recommended by IMI in the 2 years preceding the application. To track the requisite experience, an applicant must produce a time log that addresses the following for each mediation conducted:

  • the type of mediation (e.g., civil and commercial, employment, family, etc.);
  • the length of the mediation in total (expressed in hours); and,
  • the month(s) and year during which the mediations occurred.

 

2 Mediation Knowledge.

The QAP must include a methodology for determining that Applicants have demonstrated a strong understanding of general mediation theory and practice which may be based on written tests, essays, reports, theses interviews and/or other testing platforms.

All MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL Accredited Mediators have undertaken 60 hours of mediation training and 60 hours of theoretical study before accreditation. In addition, to be eligible to be qualified for IMI Certification, a candidate must complete a series of written and oral exercises that evaluates the candidate’s knowledge of mediation theory and practice as well as a self assessment. These exercises are completed prior to as well as post training.

For the initial written exercise, the candidate is assessed on mediation theory including;

  • Dispute settlement paradigms and techniques
  • Negotiation theory
  • Court processes
  • Conflict resolution concepts
  • Mediation processes and techniques
  • Standards of conduct
  • Ethical issues for mediators

For the post training exercise, the candidate is assessed on advanced mediation theory practice and negotiation including;

  • Advanced dispute settlement paradigms and techniques
  • Advanced negotiation skills
  • Advanced mediation processes and techniques
  • Advanced communication skills
  • Theories for identifying areas of agreement between the parties
  • Diversity issues

MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL requires its candidates to pass both written exercises prior to proceeding to the oral/practice component of the assessment process.

The oral assessment is categorized into 4 components:

1)    Overall knowledge of mediation, negotiation and conflict management

2)    Self assessment of the candidates strengths and challenges

3)   Understanding of theories for identification of areas of potential agreement between the  parties

4)    Visual assessment of the candidate conducting a mediation

 

3 Mediator Skills.

The QAP must include a methodology for the evaluation of candidates' performance in terms of the occurrence and effectiveness of mediation process and mediation techniques, against high competency benchmarks. The Evaluations/Assessments may be based on roleplay or live action assessments, and may include videotaped and online assessments such as web dramas, self-assessments, interviews, peer reviews, user feedback and other in-practice skill evaluations.

MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL candidates are required to complete and pass a five-day programme in advanced mediator training. This programme includes an assessment by two qualified assessors, one being external to MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL. The practitioner must clearly demonstrate a high level of competence and knowledge in mediation theory, process and skills.

The applicant will undertake a minimum of 6 role-plays during the advanced training programme, one of which will be evaluated by two qualified assessors, one being external to MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL. A written analysis will be provided to each candidate as well as to MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL critically assessing the candidate against the anticipated outcomes.

All MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL advanced candidates are encouraged to attend monthly held peer review and organized role-play opportunities to hone their own skills while assessing and peer coaching other candidates in a supervised environment.

Role Play Assessment Benchmarks

Two assessors evaluate a candidate’s performance in a role play across six areas of competency:

  • Overall skills and abilities: Keeping parties focused, assisting parties identify Interests. Use of pre-mediation and caucus. Consideration of the needs of others. Inclusion. Demonstrated understanding of the positions, issues and interests of the parties and ability to assist parties move through the stages of mediation.
  • Communication: Use of empathy, reframing, reflection, questioning skills, active listening, use of learned ADR skills.
  • Transparency: Identification of and disclosure of any real or potential conflicts of interests or bias. Consistently remaining impartial.
  • Pursuing collaboration: Pursuit of collaborative options and solutions, assisting in the generation of ideas. Identification of hidden interests.
  • Generating Agreements: Effectiveness in moving the parties toward finality and ‘closing’ an agreement at the appropriate interval.
  • Managing the Interaction: Effective strategy development, managing the process, coping with conflicts at the mediation table. Comfort level with difficult questions.

In situations where the evaluators significantly differ in their assessments, a third assessor will be assigned to consider the assessments.

 

4 Program Transparency.

The benchmarks and criteria applied by the QAP must be published and be openly accessible on the organization's website. Details of all approved programs will be listed on the IMI web portal www.IMImediation.org and will include a direct link to the credentialing organizations' websites.

Upon successful acceptance of this application, MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL will publish on our website the benchmarks and criteria to qualify for IMI Certification. They will be available for public scrutiny, query, and feedback at:http://www.mediationinternational.eu

 

5 Program Integrity.

Each Assessor must have substantial experience of assessing the performance of mediators. At least one of the Assessors on each Program must be independent of the QAP.

All Assessors of the MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL Qualifying Assessment Programme for IMI Certification are approved by the MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL Accreditation Committee. Approval is granted only when a potential assessor has clearly established to us that he/she has substantial experience both in mediation and the assessment of mediator skills.

At least one of the appointed assessors will be independent of MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL. Our assessors have varied backgrounds including academia, mediators, lawyers and social workers thus affording MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL the ability to provide well rounded assessments from both theoretical and practical perspectives.

The criteria to qualify as an assessor with MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL are, as follows;

  • Mediation experience: All assessors associated with MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL must have a minimum of five years experience in a mediation field or a minimum of 25 mediations equating to over 250 hours of practice as well as over 200 hours of training. 
  • Mentoring Experience: Our assessors are required to have extensive experience in the field of adult learning techniques, coaching, mentoring and assessment of mediator skills. 

An independent assessor is neither an employee nor a paid consultant of MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL in the training programme in which the assessment takes place.

 

6 Ongoing monitoring of Programs.

The QAP must include a process for the ongoing monitoring of the performance and practice of the Assessors. IMI will liaise closely with all recognised program organizers to maintain a sustainable quality control system.

The ongoing performance and quality of assessments is consistently monitored and reviewed by MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL’s principal’s and observers in order to ensure application of the high standards we adhere to.

Observers participate in oral exercises and our assessors meet regularly to ensure consistency of application of standards and expectations. MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL observers often attend these meetings.

Upon completion of each MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL training programme, a member of the accreditation committee meets with the lead assessor for a debriefing.

MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL is subject to and welcomes independent monitoring from IMI with regards to adherence to the IMI certification process.

 

7 Commitment to Diversity. 

The QAP must be accessible on an equal basis to experienced mediators regardless of their professional affiliations, gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation or other personal characterization.

MEDIATION INTERNATIONAL offers our programmes to experienced mediators regardless of their professional affiliations, gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation or other personal characterization.

 

 
 

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