Open Forum


MEDIA RELEASE: There’s a new wave of workplace disputes coming, and employers need to be ready 

11-10-2021 09:41 AM

COVID-19 has dramatically altered the way we think about work and social interaction and these challenges are set to continue for a while yet. Now, as Australia inches towards the 70% double dose vaccination rate and workers are starting to relocate from home to offices around the country workplace disputes will be on the increase, and employers need to be ready for it.

Disagreements and anxieties never before seen about the virus and vaccination are inevitable as workers come together for the first time in 18 months. Some employees won’t want to go back to the office at all and others will worry about hygiene in an office kitchen. Yet others may not want to sit next to a colleague who is not vaccinated. Employers will need to deal with these disputes quickly and efficiently if they are to maintain productivity, harmony and, above all, employee wellbeing.

“Research shows that workplace conflict is one of the largest contributors to employee stress and has a massive impact on employees mental health and wellbeing. Employers are very focussed on this, particularly at the moment, and most would understand that mediation by qualified professionals is good for both employers and employees alike,” said Amber Williams, CEO of Resolution Institute.   

There is significant merit in employers considering using a qualified specialist mediator as a helpful early intervention process for conflict in the workplace where employers wish to restore the professional working relationship between parties. Using proven models, communication and negotiation techniques, a mediator helps parties to come to an agreement to resolve the issues between them. Specialised mediation provides an opportunity for parties to come up with an agreement that suits them rather than having one forced upon them that they are unlikely to uphold. 

It is to the benefit of the employer to address the conflict and to support the employees particularly where those employees and their skills are valuable to the business. Not addressing the conflict will have negative and detrimental implications for the business. Some employers are fast beginning to realise that dealing with conflict effectively and quickly is critical to being an employer of choice and is critical to being successful in a workplace where a variety of opinions and styles exist. 

“A qualified and skilled mediator often has a specialised skill set which is applicable to different settings for disputes, for example, specialist workplace, elder, family and commercial mediators.  These specialist skills mean the mediator can help parties cut through to the heart of their problems efficiently and effectively.  Mediators also help people develop conflict capability so that they are better at resolving issues in the future and therefore building a more successful career,” said Ms. Williams.

Resolution Institute has a mediation nomination scheme which is designed to help employers find the right mediator for every conflict no matter what the subject matter is.  Resolution Institute has a large number of highly qualified Workplace, Family, Elder and Building/ Commercial Mediators that help businesses, small and large across Australia in every industry.

What to look for in a qualified mediator:

  • National Mediation Accreditation System (NMAS) status
  • Specialist qualifications in a particular field
  • Proven track record in dispute resolution
  • Mediators who can demonstrate an appetite for learning
  • Memberships of professional bodies such as Resolution Institute


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