Agreement Resources

Workplace Mediation and Training

Workplace Mediation

Workplace disputes can be serious and must be addressed in order to maintain a productive, safe and congenial environment.  Appropriate interventions can prevent festering hostility and alienation which can be toxic in the workplace.  Agreement Resources, LLC provides professional mediators and consultants who can help your organization to:

  • Encourage effective communication
  • Improve employee satisfaction and retention
  • Prevent avoidable termination and/or litigation
  • Increase productivity and morale

Mediation is a confidential process where a neutral mediator helps disputing parties to identify and discuss issues of mutual concern. The parties participate voluntarily, making their own decisions throughout the process and controlling the final outcome of the discussions.  Mediated agreements are especially beneficial when the disputing parties are to continue to work together and must get along.

Mediation can be helpful in:

  • Navigating difficult conversations in the workplace
  • Addressing co-worker disputes
  • Improving communication among colleagues
  • Negotiating separation agreements
  • Intervening after a lawsuit has been filed to create a forum for settlement
  • Preventing such lawsuits from even occurring

An important goal of mediation is to uncover each party’s underlying interests and concerns.  Mediators do not provide advice or judge the fairness of any options offered. Often, barriers to effective communication must be addressed before any real progress can be made.  Common obstacles include unwarranted fears and assumptions, concerns around face-saving, the need for acknowledgement, or the longing for an apology for past wrongs.

The mediators at Agreement Resources, LLC can skillfully navigate these highly charged conversations, thereby enabling the parties to develop a resolution which is acceptable to all.

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Ombuds Services

An ombuds is an independent professional who specializes in communication and workplace conflict. The ombuds’ goal is to improve the workplace environment for all employees by offering an opportunity for individuals to discuss issues with a view towards developing strategies to ameliorate discord. These services are:

  • Voluntary - All are invited to participate; no one is required to do so.
  • Independent/Neutral - The ombuds has no stake in the outcome of any disputes nor any power to impose resolution or to require any actions.
  • Confidential - The ombuds does not report individual conversations to the organization or the board unless permission is given to disclose information to others. (The only exception to this is if there appears to be the risk of serious harm).
  • Informal and “off-the-record” (not part of a formal grievance process)

Why do organizations hire ombuds?  Often neither managers nor the Human Resources department is able to reduce interpersonal or departmental conflict.  As an independent neutral with no stake in the outcome, an ombuds is able to intervene where others, who may have a stake or authority to impose solutions, could not.  The strategies an ombuds employs might involve conflict coaching, mediation, or convening a larger group meeting.

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Multi-Party Disputes in Businesses and Organizations

Multi-party disputes are complicated and may pit employees and/or divisions of the same organization against each other.  While they should be sharing goals and working together, instead they may be sabotaging the very progress that could help them meet their goals.  Why can’t marketing and sales see eye-to-eye?  Why do some staff members not share their ideas with others or with their managers?  Most multi-party disputes have numerous issues that need attention and a safe environment in which to air them so that they can be addressed.  Agreement Resources professionals have experience facilitating meetings where parties, who are entrenched in their positions, can begin to understand the perspectives of others and can find ways to express their deeply held beliefs and underlying interests in an environment which is conducive to genuine listening and learning. Our skilled facilitators often work in teams to help you achieve rich and durable resolutions in multi-party disputes.

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Family Business

Family businesses are organizational constructs unto themselves.  They combine family culture and personal values and often they use unconventional management strategies.  While they have some very clear advantages over non-family business they face many challenges that other organizations don’t have to contend with such as:

  • Next generation competence
  • Estate taxes
  • Perceived unfairness
  • Sibling rivalries 
  • Complexity of extended family and spousal relationships
  • Interplay of family and business interests

When family businesses go through transitions - be they ownership, leadership, or business focus - traditional corporate decision making strategies don’t always work.  Family dynamics become increasingly important and simmering rivalries can become catalysts to costly stonewalling.

Mediators and family business consultants from Agreement Resources, LLC can help family members better identify the underlying issues that are affecting their decision making.  Having a neutral party facilitate a conversation about what each individual wants out of the business and out of the family relationships can be very effective towards achieving resolution.

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Conflict Resolution Training for the Workplace

Conflict in the workplace can lower employee morale and lead to a decrease in productivity.  Teaching managers and staff strategies on how to approach and resolve disputes before they take on a life of their own can result in enormous cost savings to the organization.  A culture that supports managing and resolving workplace conflict (rather than letting it fester) can contribute to higher levels of employee retention, positive morale and significantly less litigation.

The goals of our trainings are to help professionals:

  • Approach conflict as an opportunity for learning and growth
  • Facilitate multi-party decision making
  • Work with parties with strong emotions
  • Build practical and effective conflict resolution skills
  • Incorporate conflict awareness into team building strategies

Agreement Resources, LLC offers general conflict resolution skills training programs in addition to custom programs developed specifically for your organization.

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Train-the-Trainer Workshops

We can provide train-the-trainer workshops so that a team leader or manager has the skills and confidence to coach individuals who are involved in a dispute.  If the situation is complicated or the manager’s neutrality is questionable, an outside professional coach or mediator may be more successful.

 

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