How the workplace mediation process works and costs
  • Contact is made with the mediator.
  • Agreement reached over the contract and the extent of confidentiality.
  • Mediator contacts participants to ascertain they agree to the process. Participants may withdraw from the process at any time.
  • A first meeting is set up individually with those involved in the dispute – this may be in a neutral place, their home or in the workplace.
  • Each participant is invited to bring a supporter if appropriate.
  • A first meeting is held, usually a maximum of 2 hours. During this meeting the whole process including a joint meeting is discussed, the background, history and issues shared with the mediator. A decision is taken whether the person wishes to continue with mediation.
  • Another first meeting happens with the other parties – it mirrors the above.
  • A time and date is arranged for a joint meeting in a place where people can feel comfortable and unobserved.
  • A joint meeting occurs. An outcome reached. If agreeable to all parties involved, an agreement is written and signed. Included is a strategy in the event that some elements of the agreement do not hold.
  • Mediator follows up the mediation agreement and process after three months.

Is it expensive?

Costs are similar to other consultants. To enable an organisation to manage the costs, there are several ways of accessing mediation and supervision:

  • A one-off cost per case for mediation or sessionally for supervision.
  • Through arranging an ongoing supervision relationship for individuals or groups in your organisation.
  • By paying an annual retainer which allows managers and human resources departments to have telephone conversations with a mediator prior to going ahead with mediation. If mediation goes ahead, payment would be on a daily or per case basis.
  • A contract for an identified number of cases per year can be very useful. By spreading the costs across the organisation and paying in advance, managers and human resources departments do not have to worry about the cost before they activate a mediation. The result is that mediation is introduced into a conflict at an early stage thereby maximising chances of success.

The advantage of an annual retainer or contract is that all the preparation work of contracts, checking references, agreeing costs, meeting mediator and arranging issues around confidentiality and process have been agreed in advance of a conflict emerging.