As it’s #MediationAwarenessWeek all this week, it’s a perfect opportunity to discuss the many benefits mediation for SMEs can have.mediation for smes

Conflict can arise in ways that are unexpected and surprising. Often causing shockwaves throughout the business and undermining.

It’s often difficult to tell when a conflict among employees is about to come to the surface. When it does, it can have drastic consequences, especially in smaller businesses.

What is Mediation?

It’s a chance for you to get things off your chest. You’ll be listened to and that, in itself, is quite cathartic.

There are different ways of running a mediation session but typically when parties come together each will be given time at the start to share their story about what has occurred and where they are. Each party is encouraged to explain as much as they can about their feelings and what is prompting their behaviour.

In even five or 10 minutes, you can get a lot of stuff out, and then there’s a palpable sense of relief. At this point, a mediator will try to help parties move the situation forward through a facilitated discussion. Ideas are sought from the participants, and a written “contract” or agreement is drawn up.

Both sides will have to make concessions, and, working together, create their own ground rules. These should be clear, simple and easy to monitor – their words, their statements, and they own it. Mediation can be transformational if participants enter into the process with openness, courage and a desire to move forward.

Mediation isn’t a magic wand. It won’t always resolve a conflict with the complete satisfaction of both parties. There may still need to be a compromise on both sides.

Benefits of Mediation for SMEs

In the UK, more than 80% of mediations reach a successful resolution. Below are some of the greatest benefits that mediation has to offer and why it is different to other forms of resolution:

A confidential and informal process – there is very little formality involved and issues are resolved privately.

Both parties retain ownership of the process – mediation involves the conflicted parties and gets them to work out a resolution rather than being forced to agree to something they don’t want.

An opportunity to work through issues in a safe and respectful place with an impartial third party – this is hugely important and promotes a productive discussion that ends with resolution.

Quick and cost-effective – rather than letting it escalate and become a costly process involving disciplinary action and termination of contract, mediation requires a few meaningful conversations.

Improved employer reputation – your employees will respect your dedication to them and appreciate you setting up mediation rather than letting it escalate.

A happier working environment – a working environment without conflict is always a better place to work.

More engaged workforce – a workforce is much more likely to be engaged knowing an employer cares about them.

Improved staff retention and reduced recruitment cost – Creating the right environment and nipping any conflict in the bud is always better than letting it continue and escalate. Reducing turnover, and opportunity cost

Increased staff morale and productivity – conflict always gets in the way of productivity.

Start Your Mediation Today

There’s no better time than Mediation Awareness Week to learn more about mediation and re-evaluate how your employees are getting on. If you think you have an issue with conflict in your team then please get in touch with us.

You can also find out more information about mediation on our website or by looking at #MAW2018 on Twitter.