Workplace Mediation Skills

This three-day course is designed to equip you with the skills to mediate conflicts between employees in the workplace, and between employees and employers. It is well known that if conflicts between people in the workplace are managed close to the point of origin there is less chance that they will go on to manifest as grievances and disputes, which are often time-consuming and expensive. Workplace mediation is a particularly effective process for managing such conflict. There are extensive opportunities on the course to practice skills through role-play, with feedback from experienced mediator coaches. Participants on this course may choose to go on to attend the coaching and assessment days of the Commercial Mediation Skills Training course and be assessed for Conflict Dynamics accreditation.


  1. Conflict at work
    1. Organisational responses to conflict and disputes
    2. The focus and positioning of labour, employment and workplace mediation
    3. Comparing labour, employment and workplace mediation
    4. Circumstances favouring workplace mediation
    5. Typical content of workplace mediation
  2. Phases in the mediation process
    1. What mediation looks like
    2. The typical pattern of mediation meetings
    3. Core principles of mediation
  3. A comprehensive mediation process
    1. Preparation
      1. Checklist for individual meetings
      2. Communicating about and building commitment to mediation
    2. The mediator opening and managing opening statements
      1. Establishing and maintaining rapport
      2. Continuum of active listening skills - minimal verbal prompts, reflecting, paraphrasing, summarising, questioning and reframing
      3. When to intervene and when to let go
    3. Exploration
      1. What is the mediator exploring - facts and feelings; legal, employment and personal dimensions; past, present and future; positions and interest
      2. Managing side meetings
    4. Problem solving / Bargaining
      1. Outcomes and  approaches to negotiation, creating and claiming value, the negotiator's dilemma the power of signals and coaching on first offers, conveying offers and reactive devaluation, reality testing, the significance of alternatives to a negotiated agreement
      2. The mandating dynamic, particularly in the context of collective bargaining
    5. Concluding
      1. Challenging parties and dealing with deadlock
      2. Finalising the agreement or confirming deadlock
      3. Sample agreement to mediate
  4. Assumptions, prejudice and stereotyping
  5. Managing emotion in mediation
  6. Effective use of the flipchart
  7. Working with lawyers and other representatives
  8. Ethics and professional conduct

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What participants say

"An excellent understanding of how mediation works with real-life examples and role playing that brings mediation to life and empowers you as a mediator."
- Senior Associate, Bowman Gilfillan Inc

"Gaining a skill through practical learning and coaching."
- Shanta Vergothasamy, Clyde Bergemann Africa (Pty) Ltd

"Certainly one of the best professional development courses I have been on for a long time."
- OXFAM delegate, September 2014

"I thought the course was excellent. Well paced and an excellent mix of theory and practical exercises. It was very helpful to have group discussions followed by confirmation / back-up with the handouts. A good model for learning."
- OXFAM delegate, September 2014

"The workbook was useful; great to have a 'toolkit' to refer back to."
- OXFAM delegate, September 2014

"The role-plays were incredibly helpful. This type of process / skills seems to be best developed through practice."
- OXFAM delegate, September 2014

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