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Creative Resolution of Employment Disputes from ProMediate.


ProMediate offers creative employment mediation solutions through CREDO.

ProMediate has a team of effective workplace mediators who can help to deal with workplace conflict and disputes anywhere in the UK.

We are flexible and have nationwide coverage.

We operate a fixed fee system, so the costs of mediating is always predictable.

An Employee’s View:

The following article provides an employee’s view about mediation and how it works in practice:

How can mediation help in the workplace?


It is estimated by OPP & CIPD (2008) that workplace conflict costs the UK Economy £24billion per year

370 million working days were lost in the UK in 2007 alone

Case Study

Local Authority estimated that raising a grievance to Board level through to right of appeal cost:

  • 32 days HR Case Management Similar time for Unions
  • Legal Team 10-12 days
  • Line Manager >32
  • £0.5M conservative estimate
  • Contrast with Mediation a total 2-3 days
  • (0.5 day prep, 1 day mediation and 0.5 day follow-up)

The Employers Perspective CIPD Survey 2011 – Conflict Management

The time spent managing disciplinary and grievances was:


Disciplinary    Grievances


Management time   7.8          6.8


HR staff time            10.2.       7.6

In-house lawyers.     2.2.        0.7


Average number of disciplinaries 16.5 m

Average number of grievances 22.3


Use of Mediation

In 2008 fewer than half of respondents had used mediation

By 2011 57% had used mediation

82.8% of public sector employers reported using mediation

47.9% of private sector employers reported using mediation

The Cost Argument

Cost of an ET – £15,000 – 25,000

Cost of mediation – £750 – £2,500

Consequently, there is a direct link with the business bottom line.

Mediation is cost effective, great value for money and in the overwhelming number of disputes the problem is resolved.

Causes of Conflict

ACAS, (2011) Thematic Review of Workplace Mediation identified the causes of conflict

ACAS Identified Causes

  • Personality clashes and warring egos 49% Stress 34%
  • Heavy workloads and inadequate resources 33% Poor leadership from the top 29%
  • Lack of honesty and openness 26%
  • Poor line management 23%
  • Lack of role clarity 22%
  • Lack of clarity about accountability 21%
  • Clash of values 18%
  • Poor selection and pairing of teams 16%
  • Taboo subjects e.g. office affairs 15%
  • Poor performance management 14%
  • Bullying and harassment 13%
  • Perceived discrimination 10%


The Employee Perspective

CIPD Survey 2015

Getting under the skin of workplace conflict:Tracing the experiences of employees


What is workplace conflict?

A condition between workers: whose jobs are interdependent

  • feel angry (emotionally upset)
  • believe the other is at fault
  • behaviour is causing a business problem
  • Not indecision, disagreement, stress

Are managers the solution or part of the problem?

  • 31% managers think they handle workplace conflict well
  • 29% of employees deal with workplace conflict “frequently”
  • 43% non-managers think their managers don’t deal with conflict as well as they should
  • The average employee spends 2.1 hours a week (12 days a year) dealing with workplace conflict
  • 50% HR professional spend 1-5 hours a week on workplace conflict
  • 1 in 6 employees saw a conflict escalate (duration/intensity)

What is the cost?

  • Estimate the monthly cost of wasted time using
  • 2.1 hours a week (109.2 hours pa) as a baseline
  • Based purely on the 2.1 hours spent on workplace conflict the cost to a business with 100 employees on an average salary of £25,000 is £150,000 pa


Other costs?

  • Wasted time
  • Reduced decision quality Loss of skilled employees Restructuring Sabotage/damage/theft Lowered morale
  • Lost work time
  • Health costs
  • HR cost

Case for mediation

  • Unmanaged conflict is the largest reducible and least recognised cost in organisations
  • Well managed conflicts can produce win-win situations

Many more have to deal with isolated conflicts


  • More than 1 in 4 UK employees have an ongoing difficult relationship at work
  • Minor disagreements to serious clashes which have a detrimental effect on a business

Employees report

  • 25% conflict is a common occurrence
  • 29% involved in an ongoing conflict with a co-worker
  • 44% due to personality differences
  • 33% due to competence or performance issues
  • 23% due to levels of support or resources
  • Most were between direct superior or a team member

 Behavioural causes

  • 61% Lack of respect
  • More than 1 in 4 reported bullying or harassment 1 in 4 refused to work together or co-operate 22% shouting or heated arguments
  • 22% verbal abuse or insult
  • More than 1 in 100 reported physical threats Bullying, intimidation or harassment
  • 39% with boss or superior 24% with a colleague
  • 19% with someone from outside the organisation
  • 13% with a subordinate

How does the organisation size impact on incidence of conflict?

  • Under 10 26%
  • 10-49 40%
  • 50-249 38%
  • 250-499 54%
  • 500+ 41%

Consequences of conflict

  • Breaches of employment contract resulting in disciplinary Psychological contract breakdown resulting in:
  • decreased motivation and decreased productivity increased absenteeism and stress
  • job changes
  • resignations
  • legal disputes
  • Psychological Financial
  • Average employee spends 2 hours a week dealing with conflict 60 Million hours lost a week in the UK
  • Lost productivity
  • Legal costs
  • Recruitment and training costs Reputation!

How conflict is managed

  • 37% speak to Manager or HR
  • 26% informal discussion with person concerned 23% discussed with another person
  • 12% looked for another job
  • 9% started grievance procedure
  • Majority of conflict is unknown to the organisation

 How often was mediation used?

  • 1.5% employees reported the use of mediatio
  • 29% employers say they have used it in the last year
  • Use of mediation is not proportionate to the number of conflicts
  • 46% employees report that mediation would be effective
  • 13% employees had a relationship that would benefit from mediation

 Reasons given for not mediating

  • Not aware of it
  • Not considering it at the time
  • Not being referred to it
  • Not having access to it
  • Not considering negative business impact of conflict
  • Lack of awareness of the extent of mediation

Organisations need:

to develop effective conflict resolution practices robust cultures to enable challenge without escalation to fully understand dynamics of workplace conflict

Causes of relationship conflict

  • Interpersonal friction is caused by different views about styles of working
  • what should be done
  • how things should be done
  • Perceptions
  • Conflict with a line manager or upper management is viewed as more serious and having the greatest consequences in stress and demotivation than a conflict with a colleague

This highlights the:

  • importance of the power dynamic
  • importance of conflict resolution skills in line managers

Attribution Bias

  • The perception is that employees in conflict believe they are not treated the way they treat people
  • We tend to view our behaviour more favourably than that of other people
  • Differences in perception of conflict are associated with decreased performance and creativity in teams
  • Natural inclination to be inward looking

Impact of conflict

  • Greatest impact is on well-being of employee which impacts on profitability
  • Stress and a consequent reduction in motivation Reduced productivity and unworkable relationships Resignation
  • Absenteeism
  • Factors that address well-being
  • Favourable terms and conditions
  • Progression
  • Support through illness
  • Formal or informal?
  • One person is likely to leave their job when there is a personality clash
  • Grievance is infrequently used
  • Formal procedures are most used in absence management
  • Informal discussions are most used in performance and resources issues

How many thought conflict was resolved?

  • Fully resolved – generally with subordinate
  • Not at all resolved – generally with superior

Need to cut through the power dynamic with effective procedures or utilise external mediation


  • Most conflict is unknown so reliance on solely formal procedures is unsound
  • Use of both informal and formal procedures result in greater perception that conflict is successfully resolved
  • Ineffective communication perpetuates the conflict
  • Need to develop conflict resolution skills for managers and encourage the use of mediation
  • Be proactive – nip conflict in the bud

How to choose a mediator?

We have a panel of experienced mediators who can assist. Contact us at