No one likes conflict. What’s more is that no one likes conflict at work. It makes for awkward situations, causes stress, and can be a legal nightmare. Mediation is a voluntary and confidential form of conflict resolution in which a neutral third party, called a mediator, helps disputing parties to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to their conflict. Business mediation has been used for years and has some great benefits for both parties as well as the work environment.
According to NOLO Law Online, small business owners are just as likely as major corporations to run into conflict with neighboring businesses, employees, customers, vendors, or with their own business partners. Unlike corporations, small business often lack public relations, human resources, and legal departments to help them deal with these conflicts. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of mediation.
- Time Saver – It is often overwhelming for a small business to come up with the time and expertise to cope with a relatively minor dispute through legal means. A mediator can help to quickly resolve an issue so that all the parties are satisfied with the resolution.
- Better Office Morale and Quality of Work Life – Conflicts seep into the very personality and fiber of office temperament. Mediation is an efficient and effective way to resolve disputes and build community among small business owners and workers and their customers and neighbors. Many people report leaving mediation feeling understood and listened to instead of being left with unresolved hostility.
- Money Saver – Mediation is usually much less expensive than hiring a lawyer. Community mediation centers offer low-cost services, and, even if you hire a private mediator who charges by the hour, you’ll be sharing the cost with the other party instead of paying a lawyer on your own.
- Confidentiality – Unlike a court case that could be open to the public, most times a settlement is confidential and done behind closed doors. Even restitution or monetary settlements can be kept confidential as part of the mediation process.
Mediation is often a very viable alternative to longer-term, more emotionally and financially costly forms of conflict resolution such as traditional civil litigation. Mediation therefore, can be a win-win process for all involved.