Workplace conflicts are usually interpersonal. Whatever its cause, workplace conflict is infectious and very expensive. It damages morale, performance, productivity, profit, employees' health and retention rates.

Employee conflict costs Australian businesses between $6b and $36b annually. Nearly 50% of people would prefer to look for a new job than deal with workplace conflict.

Mediation helps by providing a safe, structured environment that helps people understand the conflict and make an agreement that they can work with. People are more likely to stick with agreements that they made themselves than solutions that were forced on them.

Frequently Asked Questions

1What is the mediation process?

Mediation is structured to help people make logical, informed agreements. Everyone has an obligation to disclose all relevant information at mediation.

The mediation process has two parts.

1. Intake sessions are held with each party. Sessions take about 20 minutes over the phone and cover three main things.

  • The situation and background to the dispute
  • Any factors indicating that the case is unsuitable for mediation
  • Explain how the mediation session will be run.

2. The mediation session.

  • Opening statements - mediator then each party
  • Agenda setting
  • Issues exploration
  • Parties' private sessions with mediator
  • Option generation
  • Decision making
  • Write and sign the agreement.
2How much does workplace mediation cost?
Insurers pay for mediation related to Workcover claims. Insurers may agree to pay for early mediation to prevent a claim or to prevent a person's psychological injury getting worse. Please contact me for a quote.
3Where are workplace mediations held?
The parties in the mediation can choose whether they would like to have their workplace mediation at work or in neutral offices.
4If workplace mediation results in an agreement, what is the next step?
After workplace mediations, both parties sign the agreement. Original copies of the agreement to mediate and the final agreement go to the employer or insurer and both parties are given copies. My involvement ends when the mediation session ends.
5What can I do to make sure that workplace mediation results in an agreement?
Preparing for mediation is crucial. It's important to understand the root cause of the conflict, which is usually not the problem that brought it to a head. It's also important to think about options for resolution that will work for you. My worksheets will help you go into mediation (or other tough conversations) confident and prepared. If you'd like free copies of my worksheets, email me here.
6What is the next step If workplace mediation does not result in agreement?
If workplace mediation doesn't result in an agreement, a letter is sent to the employer stating that parties mediated in good faith and were unable to reach an agreement. People work with their employer to find other solutions to the dispute. Regardless of the outcome, people always leave mediation with a better understanding of the conflict and the options for resolving it.
7Is it okay to tell my colleagues I'm going to workplace mediation?
If you are attending workplace mediation I recommend that you don't discuss it with your colleagues. It's a private matter between the people involved and best for everyone if it's kept confidential.
8Are some workplace conflicts unsuitable for mediation?
In some conflicts there is a big power imbalance between the people involved, putting one person at a severe disadvantage because they can't represent themselves effectively. Cases involving physical violence, severe bullying or under legal investigation are unsuitable for mediation.
9Common workplace conflict management mistakes

Forgetting the true cost of workplace conflict

Unresolved workplace conflict inflicts dollar costs on the business - low productivity, absenteeism, resignations and psychological injury claims. Resolving conflict early minimizes these costs.

The employer doesn't have to have all the hard conversations

Resolving conflict puts managers in a difficult position - they have to take care of their people and the business. It's better for everyone if a neutral third party - a mediator- helps the people involved to have a conversation about the problem and how they will resolve it.

Mediating late in the conflict

Workplace conflict is infectious. It affects other employees and workplace culture. Resolving conflict as early as possible minimizes impacts on the people in conflict, other employees and damage to team culture

Forgetting that psychological injury claims are increasing rapidly

Psychological injury claims have increased by 50%. People are off work for two to four months with treatment costing around $15,000. Resolving conflict early minimizes the likelihood of psychological injury and shows that people have had procedural fairness.

10People are more likely to stick to agreements they made themselves
Nobody likes having a solution imposed on them. People are more likely to stick with agreements they made themselves. If they can't mediate an agreement, the employer can start making other arrangements early.


Mediation is a confidential process that protects people's reputations and private information. Both parties sign an agreement to mediate that includes a confidentiality clause.

Anything said during the mediation session cannot be repeated outside under any circumstances. Notes make during all mediations are destroyed at the end of the session.

The only documents that leave the mediation session, and that can be used outside, are the agreement to mediate and my letter to employers.

I keep a copy of the agreement to mediate and destroy all other records including emails and notes.

If you are attending workplace mediation I recommend that you don't discuss it with your colleagues. It's a private matter between the people involved and best for everyone if it's kept confidential.