First, the Mediator will join the employer for Initial Session. This is an opportunity to answer questions, to set guidelines per the employer's needs, and for the Mediator to help decide if the process is right for you. For example, Mediation isn't a good process if there is a criminal or civil lawsuit pending, if there is a history of violence, or if the participants have made serious threats against each other.
Next, the employees must agree to participate in the Mediation process. Mediation is voluntary, and no person can be ordered, forced, coerced, or threatened into participating or agreeing. Mediators are committed to allowing parties to make their own decisions.
Once the Initial Consultation is over, the Mediator meets with each involved party separately for a Pre-work Interview. This provides the Mediator an opportunity to gather information from each employee, including their individual view of the conflict, their personal priorities, and what they hope to get out of the process. It also provides a chance to help employees understand the Mediation process itself, adjusting their expectations and making the process itself more likely to be productive.
When the Pre-work Interviews are complete, the employees can begin scheduling sessions to discuss the issues at hand. The Mediator can work with employees, supervisors, human resource professionals, and others during each session. The Mediator will aid in communication, create opportunities for everyone to speak and be heard, keep discussions productive, track issues and information, support problem-solving, record areas of agreement, ensure that time is used productively, and maintain an environment that is safe. While the content of each session is confidential, agreements and recommendations for further sessions are available to the employer.