The umbrella of Business Mediation covers a wide berth of potential disputes: from partnership dissolution, real-estate purchases or landlord-tenant battles, workplace issues between employer and employee, contractual disagreements, buy-sell agreements (or disagreements), and on and on. There are so many possibilities that I can only touch on them here.
Employers and business owners cannot afford contention in their midst, especially during these economically challenging times. In a highly competitive marketplace, businesses must maintain effective communication in order to foster a harmonious work environment. Currently, we are seeing a trend toward solving conflict in the workplace through mediation rather than litigation or other more traditional methods of dispute resolution. The mediation process is one in which parties negotiate and resolve their conflict using the help of a skilled neutral third party. Mediation can be used for a variety of purposes such as negotiating contracts, organizing a partnership, creating a new business, dismantling an existing business or resolving personnel disputes just to name a few.
Business mediation can be used to resolve both internal and external conflict. More often than not, the source of the conflict stems from parties feeling they are not heard, not appreciated, or misunderstood. The mediator is a neutral observer who is not emotionally invested and can get through to the heart of the matter in order to open up discussions as to how to resolve the dispute. In mediation, the parties are voluntarily participating in the process and, as a result, fear and anxiety are greatly reduced. The neutral and safe environment that the mediator provides opens up the door to effective communication between the parties.
Rather than resort to litigation where there is a clear winner and a clear loser, the mediator strives to guide the parties to work toward a resolution that is agreeable to everyone. In this way the mediator evens out the playing field and everyone walks away a winner in some respect. When mediation is successful, the parties leave the process feeling validated and satisfied. The changes to the inner workings of the business that come out of the mediation process will likely have far-reaching positive effects on the morale of employees, which can only better the business as a whole.