The cost of conflict and merits of mediation

Conflict at work is bad for business.  And it is bad for employees. If not managed early, it can be time consuming, stressful, leading to depression, sickness absence and higher staff turnover. 

The formal grievance process rarely resolve matters.  It is adversarial. It is often the first step in litigation.  There are high expectations but low rates of resolution.  It is time consuming for managers and employees alike and often exacerbates the dispute, rather than finding a solution to it.

The ACAS report on conflict (May 2021) is startling – in total, the cost of conflict to UK organisations was £28.5 billion – the equivalent of more than £1,000 for each employee. Close to 10 million people experienced conflict at work. Of these, over half suffer stress, anxiety or depression as a result; just under 900,000 took time off work; nearly half a million resigned, and more than 300,000 employees were dismissed….

ACAS’s conclusion is not new. Early intervention in conflict saves money, time and promotes better wellbeing.

Employers, employees and their advisers need to consider mediation as the first resort.  If resolution can be found in 6 hours of mediation, why spend all that time and money in the Tribunal?

The advantages of online mediation are many:  It is quick and easy to organise. It costs less. There is no travelling for the parties or their advisers. It avoids the uncertainty of litigation, the stress and costs. It may not be suitable for test cases but otherwise it is a win-win. 

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