Navigating Workplace Conflict with Mediation and Investigation Strategies

Choosing between mediation and investigation for workplace issues depends on the nature and severity of the problem. Here's an overview to help you understand the difference in approaches so you can discuss with your Human Resource and Workplace Conflict Specialist to make an informed choice on the best approach.  

Mediation: In the spirit of cooperation and understanding, workplace mediation is a shared approach to resolving conflicts. Our skilled mediators facilitate open dialogues, encouraging all parties to express their perspectives in a collaborative and respectful environment.  Considerations when using the mediation approach include:

  1.  Relationship Preservation: When done well, mediation can help rebuild relationships between involved parties. Ideal for conflicts that may be rooted in misunderstandings, communication breakdowns, or differing perspectives.
  2.  Willingness to Participate: Opt for mediation when all parties involved are willing to engage in open and honest dialogue. Effective when there is a desire for a collaborative and mutually agreeable resolution.
  3.  Emphasis on Communication: Use mediation for issues that can benefit from improved communication and understanding. Particularly useful for addressing interpersonal conflicts, team dynamics, or communication challenges.
  4.  Swift Resolution: Consider mediation for a quicker and more time-efficient resolution when a formal investigation is not required. Suitable for resolving issues promptly, minimizing disruptions to workflow.

Investigation: When circumstances demand a thorough examination, investigations provide a structured process to uncover data and facts and document the compliant process. Our neutral investigators adhere to legal compliance, ensuring fairness, legality, and accountability.  Considerations when choosing the investigation approach include:

  1.  Serious Violations or Misconduct: Choose an investigation when the allegations involve serious violations of company policies, laws, or ethical standards. Essential for cases of harassment, discrimination, fraud, or other severe misconduct.
  2.  Legal and Compliance Requirements: Opt for an investigation when legal or regulatory compliance is a concern. Ensure that the process meets legal standards and minimizes the risk of legal repercussions for the organization.
  3.  Need for a Formal Record: Use an investigation when a comprehensive and well-documented record of the events is crucial. Formal record is necessary for situations where legal or HR actions may follow the resolution.
  4.  Power Imbalances: Consider an investigation when there is a significant power imbalance between parties, making a fair resolution challenging through mediation alone.
  5.  Repeat or Patterned Behavior: Choose an investigation if the issue involves repeated instances of misconduct or a pattern of behavior that needs to be addressed systematically.

Regardless of which approach is deemed the most appropriate here are a few items to keep in mind as during either process.

  • Initial Assessment: Conduct a thorough initial assessment to determine the nature and severity of the issue. This can help in deciding whether mediation, investigation, or a combination of both is necessary.
  • Consult HR and Legal Experts: Seek guidance from HR professionals and legal experts to ensure that your chosen approach aligns with organizational policies and legal requirements.
  • Open Communication: Communicate with all parties involved to insure participate in either mediation or investigation and engagement in solutions.
  • Flexibility: Be open to reassessing the chosen approach as the situation unfolds. In some cases, a combination of mediation followed by investigation may be appropriate or vice-versa.

According to a survey from HRAcuity, 40% of employees have little confidence in their employer's approach to addressing workplace issues and investigations. When an issue arises, the way you handle the situation can have lasting impact on your company. Ultimately, the key is to tailor your approach to the specific circumstances, considering the well-being of individuals involved, the workplace environment and the law. At RC Kelly Law Associates we understand the complexities of workplace dynamics. Our dedicated team specializes in providing comprehensive Mediation and Investigation services tailored to meet the unique needs of your organization.

Contact us today at 215-896-3646 or help@rckelly.com to explore how our Mediation services can contribute to a healthier, more collaborative, and productive work environment for your team. Or click here to set up a consultation to discuss how engaging an outside party to complete Investigation can save your organization time and money.