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Workplace mediation can prevent conflict at work leading to disciplinary problems or sickness absence, but awareness is low in many workplaces. Timmy Kurtuldum looks at the benefits and explains how Bart’s Health NHS Trust in London adopted the approach after a large-scale merger.
Formal processes for disciplinary action in the workplace can end up being a one-way street – no turning back for anyone involved. It is a route that often means a rapid escalation of any conflict – whatever its beginnings might have been – leading to tribunals, dismissals and the likelihood of a legacy of negative feelings.
There are often long-term effects on teams, managers’ careers and workplaces as a whole, including sickness absence, as individuals take time off with stress. In terms of legal fees and manager time, it’s a very expensive and damaging routine. Typically, up to 30% of a manager’s time is said to be spent in dealing with conflict.