This is the second in a two blog series answering 10 questions about my book 'DIY Mediation. The Conflict Resolution Toolkit for HR'.
Why is there a case study running through the book?
In my previous post I emphasised that the book is meant to be a practical toolkit. A key part of this is to show how the skills and process can be applied in practice. The best way I could think of doing this in a book was through a case study which runs through each of the main sections. It illustrates a typical workplace conflict and is in fact based on a real life situation which required full mediation. Two team members have fallen out and are finding it impossible to work together. Their manager has tried to address the situation but has only made it worse so he turns to the HR Manager who takes the team members through a DIY Mediation process. The actual case has been adapted (and appropriately anonymised) to show how the HR Manager could have used DIY Mediation to help resolve the situation.
The case study is referenced throughout the book to illustrate in practical terms the point I am making and to provide examples. A full transcript of the case study giving extracts from conversations from each of the five phases of the AGREE model, is contained in one of the appendices. One of the additional resources available via the website is a set of videos where the case study is acted out, giving a visual demonstration of DIY Mediation in action.
What are the differences between DIY Mediation and professional workplace mediation?
The intention of the book is to give you some additional skills and knowledge you can use in your day to day HR job to nip in the bud typical low level workplace conflicts. It is not about training you to become a professional mediator. So how does DIY Mediation differ from professional workplace mediation? In terms of the overall approach, there isn’t a difference – you are acting as an impartial facilitator to help others resolve their conflict and find a way forward. However, in practice there are some key differences. In the book I identify six differences but here are some of the key ones.
Firstly in terms of time, the DIY Mediation process will be much quicker than full mediation. The meetings will last no longer than 4 hours in total and can be set up very quickly as needed. Typically workplace mediation will involve 1.5 - 2 days work when pre-meetings, a day of mediation and follow up are taken into account. Secondly the level of conflict involved will differ. DIY Mediation is suitable for nipping low level conflict in the bud. If it has escalated and become more complex, positions entrenched etc. then it would be wiser to opt for professional mediation. Another point is structure. The DIY Mediation process is highly structured, supported with tools and forms, to enable a less experienced person to be effective. A professional mediator, although working within a framework, will flex the approach, working in a less linear way than in DIY Mediation and being comfortable with a fluid approach.
What supplementary materials are there for the book?
There is more than sufficient information and tools in the book to enable you to start practicing DIY Mediation once you’ve read it through. But having worked in a busy HR environment I know the value of having some ready made tools and resources which can supplement my learning and make implementation even easier. So I’ve put together some additional tools which you can access via the www.diymediation.com website.
For a small one off cost you have access to the premium tools including:
Video demonstrations of the case study showing DIY Mediation in action
Downloadable aide memoire on AGREE and key tools
Downloadable notes templates for the individual and joint meetings
Downloadable agreement template
Sample question sets
Put together with all the information in the book, these tools will give you a truly comprehensive DIY Mediation toolkit.
Are there other ways to learn DIY Mediation apart from the book?
Yes! There are definite advantages to using the book to learn DIY Mediation, for instance you can pick it up and put it down and learn at your own pace, you can keep it on the bookshelf and refer back to it as necessary. However, I appreciate that it doesn’t suit everyone to learn from a book so there are two other options for you.
If you like to learn at your own pace but prefer the immediacy and visual impact of video you may want to try the DIY Mediation Online Learning Series. The series of 15 short learning videos is in two sections:
About Conflict - what conflict is, why it matters, recognising it, conflict styles and resolution options.
DIY Mediation - the approach, the key skills and the AGREE model structure and phases.
Each video lasts between 5 to 10 minutes so is ideal for bite-sized learning. You can see the DIY Mediation process in action in 5 additional videos which each demonstrate one phase of AGREE. You also have online access to additional tools and resources to make it even easier to use DIY Mediation.
If face to face learning works best for you, you can come along to one of our DIY Mediation Masterclasses. This is a one day small group workshop where we take you through the DIY Mediation process and skills. The emphasis is on practical application so we spend a lot of time trying out what you learn in role play scenarios with individual feedback. To make sure you don’t forget what you’ve learned on the day, every participant receives a free copy of the DIY Mediation book.
How does DIY Mediation help organisations?
The book explains how you can learn DIY Mediation but how do organisations benefit from their HR teams gaining these skills?
Firstly there are benefits in using mediation in an organisation whether it is DIY Mediation or standard workplace mediation. A quick ‘google’ will give you much more detail than I can go into here but 3 of the main benefits are:
Effective – in the workplace typically over 90% of mediated cases result in an improved relationship
Cost – far more cost effective than going down a formal route
Speed – mediation can be implemented quickly enabling earlier resolution and preventing damaging escalation
In terms of DIY Mediation I see the main benefits to the organisation as:
Informal – the process is less intimidating for employees and it is less formal than full mediation. It is run by internal HR rather than bringing in externals or specialist mediators from other parts of the business.
Speed – as DIY Mediation takes only a few hours in total it is even more flexible and less time consuming than normal workplace mediation.
Early intervention – as there is less to organise and no cost involved, DIY Mediation can be used early on in a conflict situation, and the earlier an intervention is made the more likely it is it will resolve the situation.
Skills development – by developing the skills needed for DIY Mediation, the HR team are improving their own competence, not only in conflict resolution but more widely. Skills such as Active Listening are extremely valuable in a wide context so the overall ability and effectiveness of the HR person trained in DIY Mediation increases.
Low cost, broad reach – as the costs involved in DIY Mediation are very low, it enables organisations to develop a large number of staff as opposed to giving specialist mediation training to just a few.