The College is committed to promoting and nurturing a positive working environment with good working relationships where people are treated with mutual respect. We recognise that conflict in the workplace occurs from time to time. When it does, we wish to support staff to work together to resolve any disputes and conflicts constructively and speedily. A Facilitated Conversation is aimed at securing constructive and lasting solutions to workplace disputes, conflicts and complaints.
A facilitated conversation is designed to address issues at a formative stage to help prevent issues becoming more deep-seated and escalating to a more formal process. It uses the principles of mediation to support productive dialogue between two parties.
A facilitated conversation differs from mediation in that it is likely to be most appropriate in the early stages of a situation where an individual may be trying to resolve a problem but cannot quite work out the best way to move forward for all parties. The facilitator will be able to support and help focus a discussion between the parties to move forward. Mediation may be more appropriate if a conflict has become more deep-seated and the parties need additional support and guidance in the discussions to reach a resolution.
The process is voluntary and entirely confidential and designed to address issues positively and constructively.
A trained Resolution Facilitator will be assigned to the case to support the conversation, taking an impartial and neutral role to help both parties discuss their issues and needs, to support both to agree resolutions/next steps.
Both individuals would have a pre-meet, separately, with the facilitator to explain their concerns, discuss the process and to ask any questions for clarity.
The Facilitated Conversation
The facilitated conversation brings both parties together in a meeting, provides uninterrupted speaking time, an opportunity to discuss issues constructively and mutually agree next steps. The structure of the meeting:
- Agree ground rules; mutual respect, courtesy, listening and any others suggested and agreed by both parties.
- Talk time – both parties have uninterrupted talk time (maximum of ten minutes each). During which they outline what the issues are and the impact on them. The facilitator will summarise when both have finished talking and ask, if necessary, the impact/consequences on both parties.
- Exchange – both parties can talk to each other about what they feel are the key issues.
- Problem solving – when all the issues have been discussed, both parties should focus on problem solving and resolution; looking at the areas where a resolution is needed. Parties decide whether it should be written. If written the agreement is emailed to both parties and any agreed third party.
- Close – check how both parties are feeling and clarity about next steps. Follow up actions and timescales are agreed.
- Notes are destroyed.
- Follow up – as agreed. Both parties should feel happy about moving forward outside of this process otherwise there is the option to reconvene the facilitated conversation.
How to Access
Contact a member of the Employee Relations team to progress.