The workplace is where people spend the majority of their day, and so conflicts here are not uncommon. Coupled with the stress of meeting company goals or deadlines, co-workers may snap at each other or management staff may have issues with how their employees accomplish objectives. While some conflicts are quickly resolved, others may fester and grow until they threaten the morale of others and the bottom line of the company.

Stages of Mediation

While interventions should happen as soon as possible, some conflicts may continue to fester until they escalate. If the two sides cannot come to agreements on their own, a company mediator should be brought in to try to resolve the issues. Although there are outside mediators who can help a company with their problems, many large corporations have some of their staff attend mediation training courses so conflicts can be resolved in-house.

Most mediations have a five-stage format:

  • convening,
  • opening,
  • communication,
  • negotiation, and
  • closure.

These five stages are not necessarily done in order during a successful mediation, but it is important to understand the structure.

Convening Stage

The mediator should decide whether to speak with the parties involved in the conflict separately or in a joint meeting. During this stage, they should tell the parties what to expect throughout the mediation process and explain their role as a mediator.

Opening Stage

This stage involves a joint meeting with all parties. The mediator should ask for each party to explain their side of the conflict so he or she can understand their perspective. They should create a safe environment so ideas can be discussed without the fear of retributions. The mediator should also instruct or coach each side to allow each party to speak openly and without disruption so as not to delay the mediation.

Communication Stage

During this stage, each party presents their side of the conflict without disparaging the others. It is important for each party to get a turn to shed light on their position on the matter at hand. This allows the other parties to begin to understand each side of the conflict, find areas of agreement, and discover issues on which they can compromise.

Negotiation Stage

At this stage, the mediator should create an atmosphere to help the parties come up with solutions to the conflict. Instead of giving them a solution, he or she should facilitate discussions and help keep them on track so the parties arrive at a resolution on their own.

Closure Stage

This is the final stage of the mediation process. Now that the parties are aware of each other’s opinions, they should be able to formulate compromises to resolve the conflict. The mediator can help them come up with a solution that is agreeable for everyone.

Mediation is not a quick process, and it can take weeks, sometimes months, for the parties to finally come up with an agreement with which everyone can live. The staff members you choose to take mediation training need to be patient and even-tempered to help resolve conflicts.