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The University of Southampton

Mediation for staff in conflict

Conflict resolution through mediation

resolving conflicts
Staff mediation session

'Let's talk about it and move on'...

The Mediation Service is open to all current members of staff. It is a free and confidential service which allows you the opportunity to try to resolve any workplace conflicts, even those which may seem very complicated and are long standing, in a way that is acceptable to you both. It can also be used in team conflicts.

The Mediation Service is autonomous within the University and therefore no information related to the case or the names of parties involved in that case are shared with HR or anyone else.

If you're not sure whether mediation would work for you have a look at when mediation is most effective?

It is a VOLUNTARY, NON-JUDGEMENTAL, CONFIDENTIAL AND INFORMAL process which gives you the opportunity to discuss your concerns within a safe environment and to focus on improving your relationship and resolving the conflict.  Mediation does NOT form any part of the University's formal procedures but, where appropriate, it is the preferred method of trying to resolve conflict instead of resorting to the Grievance procedure. However, using mediation doesn't affect your right to resort to a more formal route later if needed.

When can mediation help?

What makes mediation so different from turning to a more formal route, such as a grievance, is that the two parties in dispute are in control of their own outcome.  Mediators will help you both  to have an open and honest dialogue with the aim of identifying a mutually acceptable outcome even though at the outset this may seem an impossible task. Mediation examines the interests of both of you, gets to the root of the problem and then provides you both with an acceptable way of working together in the future. This method moves away from the adversarial and legalistic nature of more traditional processes such as raising a grievance. The Mediation Service remains autonomous within the University, including HR, and all information related to any referrals or case details remain strictly confidential.

A common misconception is that the situation/conflict you find yourself in seems too complicated and difficult and could not possibly be resolved through mediation. Our mediators have successfully mediated many cases where staff have been in conflict for months or even years with entrenched positions with a complicated history.

Our team of mediators are all employees of the University who have qualified as mediators as well as being members of the Professional Mediators Association and are bound by their Code of Conduct and Practice standards. Mediators will always be sensitively selected and will not be known by either party, nor come from the same area of work.

What you should do if you find yourself in conflict with another. Before referring a case to mediation you should always try and work things out between you first.  If you can talk things out over a coffee, telling the other person how you feel but in a non-confrontational manner and be prepared to listen to what they have to say, this may be enough to work things out. If you don't feel able to do this, or it doesn't work, speak to your line-manager or HR Manager to see if they are able to facilitate a way forward. If these measures do not work mediation may well be the next step.

We offer two types of mediation , depending on the circumstances - a full mediation or a shortened version called a facilitated discussion. A decision as to which would be more appropriate will take place at the initial meeting with the Mediation Services Manager.

I was initially sceptical that mediation would make any difference. It was, admittedly, a gruelling session for everyone concerned and we nearly gave up half way through the day, but in the end progress was achieved. I thoroughly recommend the service; the two mediators were superb.

Mediation is something which I hadn't heard much about until it was suggestion to me. It is such a good way to overcome difficulties in various relationships in a calm, neutral environment. It definitely helped me to overcome my problem. I would definitely recommend mediation to others.

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