what is mediation?
Our workplace mediation service is a targeted approach to resolving disputes and conflicts within your organisation. It operates at an individual or small group level, focusing on conflicts between employees, whether they occupy the same level or different positions within the business or organisation.
Our accredited mediator will serve as a neutral third party, creating a safe space for open communication and guiding participants towards a mutually satisfactory resolution.
what issues are suitable for mediation?
Workplace mediation is well-suited for a range of interpersonal issues commonly encountered in professional environments. These include communication breakdowns, personality clashes, misunderstandings, allegations of bullying, and grievances between individuals.
Mediation is particularly effective in cases where emotions may be running high, and finding a constructive path forward is crucial for maintaining a healthy work environment.
Early intervention through mediation is also proven to be a cost-effective dispute resolution strategy compared to allowing a situation to escalate to a point where more formal action is required.
what to expect from the process?
In workplace mediation, the focus is on collaboration and finding common ground. Unlike traditional adversarial approaches, there are no designated winners or losers. Instead, the mediator works to facilitate a resolution that is agreeable to all parties involved.
This resolution could cover improved communication channels, adjustments to work processes, additional training opportunities, or the implementation of proactive strategies to prevent future conflicts to name a few outcomes. The ultimate goal is a more harmonious and productive work environment for all.
If a situation cannot be resolved through mediation, the matter will be referred back to the employer to decide on the pathway forward. This may involve a review of policies and procedures, compulsory training, counselling, performance reviews and possible legal action.
what are the first steps?
The first step is simply to contact us at Regional Business HQ and our Accredited Mediator will provide you with a brief overview of the process.
From there, here is a guide to what will occur in the initial stages:
1. Our Mediator will ask you to complete a Mediation Intake Questionnaire to provide some basic details such as the nature of the dispute, who is involved and their contact details, what steps have been taken previously to resolve the issue, and who will be covering the mediation costs.
2. After the questionnaire has been completed, our Mediator will contact all parties by phone to confirm their willingness to participate in mediation and answer any initial questions. Provided all parties are willing to proceed, they will be provided with an Agreement To Mediate and a full outline of the mediation process. Regional Business HQ will provide a deposit invoice and estimate of overall costs to the party (or parties) paying for the mediation.
3. Upon payment of the initial deposit (non-refundable), our Mediator will again contact all parties to arrange pre-mediation interviews which are done one-on-one with the Mediator. The purpose of these interviews is to further determine the suitability of the dispute for mediation, confirm the capacity of both parties to participate, and help both parties prepare for the mediation where the other participants will be present.
4. Provided there is a reasonable expectation of success, and all parties have the capacity to participate, the Mediator will arrange the mediation session/s.
Our mediator is based in Bundaberg, Queensland and can provide workplace mediation services Australia-wide.
In-person services are available in the Bundaberg region at no additional cost, or subject to travel costs in other locations. Mediation and pre-mediation sessions can also be done online (via Zoom or MS Teams) if all parties agree. In the interests of balance and fairness, we do not do ‘hybrid’ sessions where one party is in the room with the mediator and the other joins online.
frequently asked questions
Am I obliged to take part in mediation?
No. Mediation is a voluntary process. However, it is advisable to at least particpate in pre-mediation and understand the process before making your decision. In relation to workplace mediation, if any party declines to participate, the matter will be referred back to the employer to handle through other avenues.
What if an agreement can't be reached?
It is important to recognise that not every mediation results in an agreement. In the case of a workplace mediation, if a situation cannot be resolved it will be referred back to the employer to determine a way forward. This usually involves reviewing policies and procedures, compulsory training, counselling, performance reviews, or potential legal action.
Why is a non-refundable deposit required?
There is a significant outlay of time and resources for our Mediator to thoroughly conduct the pre-mediation. Even if it is determined that the situation is not suitable for mediation, the pre-mediation process is likely to provide valuable insights that will help you move forward via another pathway.
Is mediation confidential?
The mediator will not discuss the matter with anyone else without your permission. In the case of workplace mediation, if the employer is paying for the mediation they may only request a copy of any final agreement reached, and only if all parties agree. They will not be privy to anything discussed during the mediation. You will be advised before you agree to mediation if this has been requested.
Is a Mediation Agreement legally binding?
The agreements reached during mediation are not legally binding unless both parties wish to have their legal representatives make the agreement into a legally binding contract.
If either or both parties don’t adhere to the agreement, and the dispute escalates to legal action, the mediation agreement may form part of the background to the dispute.
workplace mediator vs industrial relations mediator
A workplace mediator is a neutral third party who helps resolve conflicts between individuals or small groups within a specific workplace. They facilitate communication and guide the parties involved towards a mutually agreeable resolution.
An industrial relations mediator specialises in resolving conflicts that pertain to labour and employment relations within a broader industry or sector. They often work in settings where there are collective bargaining agreements, unions, and labour-management disputes.
Regional Business HQ provides a workplace mediation service.
Your Conflict Resolution Practitioner
David is a nationally accredited mediator under the National Mediator Accreditation System. He is qualified to conduct mediations for many types of workplace and commercial disputes along with neighbourhood and property disputes.
David is also an experienced workshop facilitator and communication skills trainer with over 12 years’ experience in this field. He can also assist with general conflict management training or group problem-solving workshops.