The Mediation Times

 

Grievance and disciplinary processes: Top tips for employers

by Amanda on April 12, 2009

In the wake of the new arrangements for grievance and disciplinary matters there is a wealth of advice and new books on what employers should be doing to meet the standards expected of them. There is also a guide to transitional arrangements for disputes which straddle 6 April 2009, the date when the new regime became effective.
The Gibbons Review which was the driver for the new arrangements speaks frequently of mediation as a preferred route to early settlement. The ACAS Code of Practice 1 on disciplinary and grievance proceedures also promotes mediation. However, the new code is not as clear about mediation as a tool for early dispute resolution as the original review, which is a great shame.

Here are 10 tips to help you reduce the number of employment and organisational disputes in your business.

  1. Resist the temptation to train a team of in-house mediators
  2. Make the resolution of disputes a commercial issue and not just an HR issue
  3. Put dispute resolution on the board room table, in front of the CEO, CFO, CIO and Head of Legal Services
  4. When employees experience good dispute resolution they express that in their relationships with customers and suppliers. Good relationships have always mattered but they are even more critical in a recession
  5. Good dispute resolution skills are not separate from good leadership skills – train your leaders.
  6. Differentiate between conflicts and disputes: conflict can be very constructive, disputes are not.
  7. Using external expertise is not a weakness. Most employees consider external help a demonstration of commitment.
  8. Interview potential mediators. What else could they bring to meet the needs of the organisation? What experience do they have? Will they understand the context of the organisation? Could they engage senior people in developing solutions to the underlying problems?
  9. Be prepared to move people into roles where they are using their strengths every day. If they are successful and appreciated then it is unlikely they will have time or energy for anything else.
  10. If you can’t move people to where they are using their strengths every day then be prepared to move people on to where they can use them.

Early dispute resolution adds value to your internal and external reputation, contributes to attracting talented individuals, helps keep employees focused on the important issues, builds confidence and trust, encourages innovation and problem solving. It builds shared responsibility.

If you would like to know more about the benefits to your bottom line of this approach, please contact me using the form below.

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