When organisations enquire about our internal mediator training programmes, they often assume that HR Professionals will be their only potential mediators because of the jobs they do. The reality is that most people within HR will make great mediators, yet some may struggle.
By only considering their HR department, they are missing out on a huge opportunity for highly positive cultural change.
Most recognise that formal grievances and many low level disciplinary hearings are an ineffective use of time and don’t resolve issues. This is why they want to develop mediators and move towards a more proactive approach to issue resolution.
Developing HR professionals to resolve issues (rather than wasting time in grievances) is a big step forward - it will make a huge difference. However, there’s an even bigger opportunity being missed.
The majority of HR professionals will spend a significant level of time dealing with issues which could have been nipped in the bud - the grievance could have been avoided had proper conversations occurred when the problem initially manifested itself.
Every organisation has mixed capabilities and strengths within their leadership teams - some will be great with people - they’re probably the poor managers who get chosen to hear grievances. If they have the right attributes they will make great mediators.
When people have mediation skills, at least 90% of the time they use their skills isn’t officially in a mediation - they will actually think differently - therefore they will lead differently.
They will then have the confidence to enable proper conversations.
When leaders help employees to talk issues through, they avoid escalation and don’t feel the need to involve HR. They certainly don’t guide employees towards grievance procedures.
Creating a team of mediators is not about the day job they have, it’s about the person they are. It may well be that your best mediators are made up of a myriad of different roles, backgrounds and experiences.
When considering who will make a great team of mediators, forget about the job they do and instead look at the skills they have.
We travel around the UK developing teams of mediators within organisations and when those teams have been chosen for the skills they have, we see some amazing mediators come through. It’s fantastic to see the excitement they have as they embark on such a revolutionary journey.
If you’d like to explore developing a team of internal mediators drop us an email or give us a call.