Mediation. It has been a key successful solution in resolving our workplace conflicts. However, mediation is not an effective solution to workplace bullying, particularly in moderate to severe cases. In fact, mediation can exacerbate the risk to bullied targets and your business.
Mediation involves an independent and impartial person who is engaged to negotiate an agreement and identify options for moving forward. It seeks to achieve a compromise in a no blame environment.
Workplace bullying in contrast is characterised by a power imbalance between the bully and target. Often by the time it has come to the attention of your business, a target is in a position where they are unable to defend themselves and suffering harm. Mediation asks a target to meet in the middle, reducing their resources even further and exacerbating their injury and harm.
In some cases, mediation has also escalated the bully’s behaviour, meaning the target suffers even more.
Mediation is also a confidential process. Therefore, evidence is not available from this process to your business to assist in workplace bullying resolution when mediation hasn’t worked. This draws out the resolution longer, while the target continues to relive painful memories, increasing injury.
It is clear that mediation does have it’s place in resolving workplace conflict. However, where workplace bullying is involved, it is vital that you first assess whether mediation will cause greater harm to the bullied target.
Mediation also means that the target can never win justice for the harm they have suffered. Other collaborative practices, including restorative justice, are a better approach to achieving a successful and safer outcome for your employee.
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