Formal Mediation at Global Business

Akenham have recently provided mediation services to a large global client. We were contacted by the client’s HR department who wanted to identify if mediation could be used to resolve a relationship breakdown between a manager and their team member.

The team member felt that the manager was bullying them and the manager felt that the team member was being unnecessarily disruptive.

Scoping the issues: confidential individual meetings:

After an initial briefing Akenham appointed a highly qualified and skilful mediator who liaised directly with the team member and manager involved. We acted swiftly and arranged confidential individual meetings for the following week.

At this stage, the main objectives for the meditator were to:

  • Review the relevant background information from each party
  • Build an independent and neutral viewpoint of the situation
  • Identify the issues that were making the situation difficult
  • Build trust and engagement in the process with each party
  • Build commitment towards a ‘solution-focused approach’ with each party
  • Build the ground rules that underpin the joint meeting

Creating the solution: shared meeting with both parties:

After the key points had been identified, a cooling off period was introduced before the mediator arranged a shared session.

At this stage, the main objectives for the mediator were to:

  • Check that the ground rules were agreed, understood and accepted
  • Allow each party to make opening remarks about the situation
  • Allow each party to comment on the impact of the situation
  • Create an exchange of views on what changes could be made by each party and collectively
  • Capture action points and agreed how progress would be reviewed

The outcome:

The mediator concluded the process by helping the team member and the manager build a written agreement which could be used as a point of reference going forward. Both parties also agreed that a copy of the agreement could be sent to the HR department who could offer any required support going forward.

In this case a grievance was avoided which brought numerous benefits for the employer. Management time was not wasted conducting lengthy investigations, the circle of involvement was kept at a minimum and, as the rest of the department were not embroiled in a lengthy internal process, engagement levels and productivity remained consistent.