Do you really need to hire a mediator? How can you determine if a workplace situation requires professional attention? It depends on the scale of the conflict, if the situation mostly concerns a slowly deteriorating relationship and it does not seem quite right to adopt a more formal process you may be on the right track. There are certain skills an HR professional must possess in order to diffuse low level conflict situations at work.
According to the team at Mediate 4, HR professionals can use an AGREE model to facilitate difficult conversations in the workplace. To do this HR professionals must possess a strong ability to:
Question individuals effectively to narrow down their needs and expectations
Listen: Sort through the facts and key issues stemming from a conversation
Remain neutral, if this might pose a problem it may not be advisable to attempt facilitating dialogue as this will impact how individuals commit to the process
Be firm in conversations, facilitators have to be able to manage the conversation as individuals may have different dialogue styles, some parties may be more dominant whilst others may have a more submissive approach thus it is important to manage tensions in a manner that keeps both individuals on an equal footing.
However if the issues underlying are more entrenched or if the dispute has been ongoing for a long period of time this relationship might need a professional mediator with extensive experience in workplace disputes who will be able to apply a more advanced approach.
This article is based on a post by Marc Reid in the UK Mediation Journal issue 5 page 42 - 43, which you can find here