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Mediation can help more organisations improve their workplace culture

Workplace disputes often benefit from mediation, the input of a third impartial person to steer the conflicting parties towards some kind of amicable resolution. Mediation is a voluntary and confidential way to put things back on track, with the emphasis on finding a good way forward for everyone, rather than looking backwards and apportioning blame.

Mediation is most effective in the early stages of a disagreement, before people become entrenched in their positions. If dealt with quickly, there's more chance that mediation can prevent an employment relationship from falling apart, which means there's also more chance that it can be repaired and a productive long-term relationship can be restored.

Another major advantage of mediation is that it can help resolve underlying systemic problems in workplace practices, which are rarely, if ever, corrected by the outcomes of employment tribunals. Recent research has found that mediation - and mediation skills acquired by in-house staff - can change the whole culture of conflict management in an organisation.

As the number of organisations using mediation has risen by 14 per cent since 2008, Acas and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development have updated their guide, Mediation: An approach to resolving workplace issues. The publication aims to help people decide when and how to best use mediation in their organisations.

Acas offers practical training in Mediation skills and also runs accredited training with the Certificate in Internal Workplace Mediation. Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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