Helping You Move In The Right Direction

As concern grows over the COVID-19 pandemic… Read More

If you run a business and you have a conflict with a worker over their employment status, you might feel anxious over what will happen next. You have spent a lot of time and effort building a good reputation for your business. You might fear your customers will turn against you if it seems like you are trying to force out a deserving worker.

The use of mediation provides a possible way to preserve the good reputation of your business. Entrepreneur explains some reasons why mediation may work for businesses like yours.

Many people like mediation

The public perception of lawsuits is often poor. Many view litigation as drawn out, costly and sometimes excessively dramatic affairs. On the other hand, many people see mediation as a good faith effort to arrive at a resolution. Even if you offer mediation as an option and your employee turns it down, your customers may view you positively for making the offer in the first place.

Litigation details can become public

If your lawsuit becomes high profile, the public will likely catch on to it. Jurors involved in the case may talk to the media. The public will also learn the outcome of your case. You might lose, and even if you decide to appeal, your customers will recall that you had suffered a loss in court and may believe you were in the wrong.

By contrast, mediation allows you to keep your dispute out of the public eye. The process of mediating your case and the eventual outcome may remain confidential, reducing the chance of your reputation taking a hit.

Settling may not help your reputation

You might consider just settling the dispute with your employee. With a settlement, you can keep the details of the outcome under wraps and avoid public scrutiny. However, the public perception of settling a lawsuit is not always favorable. Some people might assume that you would not settle unless your employee had the upper hand in the case. You may come off looking better if you try mediating the matter.

Virtually everyone who owns or operates a business is familiar with the concept of diversity and inclusion. While the catchphrase is becoming increasingly common among colleagues, not everyone knows exactly what this entails. The greater difficulty comes in a lack of understanding about how to create an inclusive company culture.

Meeting diversity goals is one thing. However, statistics can fall short unless workers feel as though they are a valuable part of a team. So, what paradigm shifts could promote internal success?

Three ways to increase inclusivity at work

Despite the desire for a diverse workforce, business leaders often struggle to find positive solutions. There may not be one be-all-and-end-all way to implement changes, yet the following approaches may be helpful:

  • Involve organizational leadership during ideation, instead of solely relying on a program designed by external experts. Relying on managers’ hands-on perspective and initiative can go a long way in both formulating and implementing results-oriented improvements applicable to a specific environment.
  • Develop a way for employees to file confidential complaints about harassment or discrimination. Rather than allowing maltreatment to continue out of fear of retaliation, workers must have a way to speak up to draw attention to the challenges that exist within an organization.
  • Consider unbiased hiring practices. Some technological tools may unintentionally remove certain applicants from the job pool. Teams that accurately represent the population rely on technology free from implicit biases.

The overarching goal of developing equal opportunities within a workplace may seem daunting – perhaps even impossible.

However, even when steps don’t provide desired results, efforts indicate recognition of changes that must take place. As with any product or service on the market, being open to trial and error can lead to progress.

You rely on your employees to meet customer demands. Eventually, though, members of your staff may butt heads. After all, as many as 85% of U.S. workers report experiencing conflict at their places of employment.

While it is sometimes necessary to resolve conflict using traditional disciplinary procedures, workplace mediation may be a better approach for at least three reasons.

1. You retain some control

Your company’s disciplinary procedures are probably strict, seemingly giving you full control over conflict. Still, the rigidity of your company’s discipline approach may take problem-solving out of your hands.

If you opt for workplace mediation, you set the ground rules. You also have the option of switching to conventional discipline if mediation is ineffective.

2. You focus on a solution

A stern lecture, formal reprimand or pink slip may stop conflict without actually addressing it. When you choose mediation, your employees work collaboratively toward solving the problem.

Unlike inflexible workplace discipline protocols, mediation has the potential to offer out-of-the-box solutions. That is, when working with a mediator, your workers may find novel ways to reduce conflict or eliminate it altogether.

3. You engage your workforce

While you may give affected employees a chance to respond or refute allegations, workplace discipline is usually largely a one-sided process. Consequently, it is often easy for workers to disengage.

When you use an impartial mediator to find common ground, your employees have a critical role to play in the dispute resolution process. Not only may mediation keep employees engaged, but it may also make them likelier to respect the process’s outcome.

According to BuiltIn, diversity and inclusion are separate concepts that rely on each other to succeed. On the one hand, diversity refers to the characteristics and traits that make a person unique, such as his or her race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. Inclusion, on the other hand, refers to the behaviors or social norms that ensure all persons, regardless of their unique characteristics, feel welcome.

BuiltIn further expands on its definition of inclusion. Per the organization, for a workplace to be “inclusive,” it must provide equal access to resources and opportunities to all individuals. Moreover, every person throughout the organization should receive fair and respectful treatment, and feel accepted, encouraged and valued.

All that said, inclusion sounds nice, but what does it look like in action? Gallup provides a few solid examples.

Intention at every level

According to Gallup, inclusion requires the efforts of every individual at every level, from the entry-level employees to the senior executives. An inclusive work environment is one in which every person, regardless of position, assumes responsibility for the company’s success, and in which every person recognizes the efforts of all others.

Employees who feel valued

In a truly inclusive work environment, no employee questions their strengths, and each feels valued because of what they know they can offer. Employees are motivated to use their strengths to advance the goals of the company and to identify any blind spots.

Leaders who care

In an inclusive workspace, leaders hire, assign work, make promotions and evaluate salaries based on purely objective standards — and they ensure department managers do the same. These leaders cultivate environments in which employees feel safe to express themselves and to raise any concerns without fear of retaliation. They focus on each workers’ strengths and offer ways to cultivate those strengths through development, encouragement and celebration. Finally, they value collaboration and innovation, and they understand that the best outcomes are the result of a collective effort.