A 2015 CIPD research report found that employers are making increased use of mediation as an effective means of managing conflict between people in the workplace.
- It works – A 2008 ACAS survey among 500 SMEs found that among those that had used mediation, almost half said it had resolved the issues completely; 82% said it had resolved them either completely or partly; 99% said that it was a good tool for resolving disputes.
- It’s quick. Mediators are readily available and many disputes can be resolved within one working day.
- It’s low cost* compared to formal methods of resolution.
- It saves money*. It can be used at an early stage thus avoiding the business costs associated with protracted conflicts including management time spent preparing for grievance and disciplinary procedures.
- It’s less stressful than more formal processes. A 2011 CIPD survey among employers who used mediation found that 64% reported this as a key benefit.
- It puts people in control of their problems rather than handing control to the authorities, enabling them to come up with practical solutions that are agreeable to both sides.
- It often clears up damaging misunderstandings and resentments because it allows all participants to speak and to be heard.
- It allows people to rebuild working relationships. 80% of employers who used mediation cited this as a key benefit in the CIPD survey.
- Participants are more often satisfied at the end because it tends to produce win/win outcomes rather than win/lose outcomes that usually follow from legal or other formal procedures.
- Participants gain useful insights from the process that they can use to better manage future conflict.
- Developing an organisational culture that focuses on managing and developing people, retaining valuable employees, and reducing sickness absence were reported as a key benefit by more than a third of employers in the 2011 CIPD survey.
*Mediation cost comparison
The CIPD Conflict Management Survey, 2011 found that:
- the median total of direct and indirect costs to an employer of a mediation was £2.5k
- the median total cost of a compromise agreement (inc compensation, legal and management time) was £11k.
A 2015 CIPD survey report showed that:
- an average of 19 days of management/HR time was spent on a single employment tribunal case, 16 on a disciplinary case, 12 days on a grievance, and 13 days on a mediation.
- the median cost to employers of legal/professional advice for ET cases was £3k.
A government survey of employment tribunal applications in 2013 found that:
- where an employer made a settlement offer prior to a tribunal, the median amount was £2.5k
- the median value of an award made to a successful ET claimant was £3k
Knowledge and use of mediations in SMEs, ACAS Research Paper, 2008.
Conflict Management Survey, 2011. CIPD, 2011.
Findings from the Survey of Employment Tribunal Applications 2013. Department for
Business Innovation & Skills, June 2014.
Conflict Management: A shift in direction. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
(CIPD), March 2015.