Proactive Mediation - Resolving Conflict in the Workplace

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

We were fortunate enough to recently attend a Mental Health Mediation Breakfast hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Michelle Phaneuf from Reaching Enduring Agreements, and Marjorie Munroe from the Workplace Fairness Alberta.  The purpose of the breakfast was to improve the participants understanding of  workplace mediation and how it can be utilized to address a mental health issue or leave of absence from work.

The reality is that mental health issues, whether they are discussed or not, have an enormous impact on the workplace. 44% of employees in Canada report having experienced a mental health issue and almost 70% of all long term disability claims (and 78% of short term disability) are related to mental health issues. Returning to work can be a difficult process and mediation can help alleviate some of the concerns and get working relationships back on track. However, many employers and employees do not understand the mediation process.

The purpose of bringing in a mediator at work is to help create a safe space for collaborative and purposeful conversation. Using the PULSE framework for structuring conversations is one way to find solutions for difficult situations.

The PULSE framework consists of 5 steps:

1. Prepare - All parties discuss the process of mediation, their level of comfort with the process, and ensure confidentiality.

2. Uncover - Both parties discuss their purpose for being in the mediation and what they hope to resolve.

3. Learn - The mediator opens up the door to ideas and encourages each party to be open to the other's ideas. This is where an individual may disclose their disability and present possible accommodations.

4. Search - Both parties, with the mediator, brainstorm ideas for strategies and solutions.

5. Explain - A written action plan is developed with clear steps and specifics. Clear expectations of each party, and others if necessary, are agreed upon. The document outlines intentions and commitments to the future, ensuring everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.

For more info about the PULSE framework, or for more info on Proactive Mediation, please watch the video below or get in touch with the Pulse Institute.


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