When to Seek the Support of an External Workplace Mediator?

Conflict in the workplace is difficult. Difficult for the employees, difficult for teams and difficult for Managers. Often when conflict occurs many find it hard to remain objective or give honest feedback. An external mediator provides a safe and objective environment to help both parties resolve, learn and take on feedback. Below are 3 key benefits of an external workplace mediator.

An Objective view

Remaining objective when conflict arises is difficult and often managers find the requirement to remain objective hard. There is often history associated with the employees, long standing friendships and potentially personal issues to consider.

However, remaining objective and transparent with both employees is a must. This will build trust in the mediation process, creates a safe environment for both employees and also ensures both employees feel supported and valued.

An external mediator’s role is not to find fault or blame in either employee, but to break down the conflict, objectively see both sides of the story and remain focussed on a resolution.


Giving and receiving feedback is required during a mediation process. Both employees are given the opportunity to give each other honest feedback in a safe and respected environment. This feedback process is critical in 2 ways. To respectfully air the grievances but also to take on board feedback.

An external mediator works with the employees individually to prepare for the feedback process to ensure that this critical part of the process is successful. This honest feedback will allow the employees to self-reflect and use this as an opportunity to improve.

The mediator also has the opportunity to give feedback to the Manager. There may be opportunities to improve processes, employee wellbeing support or leadership styles within the workplace.


Once the mediation process gets to the stage of openly discussing the required and agreed actions, both employees should be at a point of forward solution focussed thinking.

The most common reasons for conflict are communication styles and unclear role expectations.

Communication has now most likely become tense and awkward. Over a period of time the communication between the employees has broken down and become non-existant. Focussing on rebuilding communication by agreeing on language and tone is the first step.

Role expectations are now often unclear and have become an issue with the operational needs of the team. Breaking down the position description, role expectations and decision making are key points to work through.

The external mediator ensures the action plan is fair, clear and achievable. This simple action plan is a tool which assists employees to demonstrate that the feedback has been taken on board and allows for the critical values of trust and respect to be rebuilt.


Emma Baldwin is a seasoned human resource business partner, who strives to build trust and respect in every workplace. As a generalist, Emma’s experience spans the full range of human resources including: compliance, mediation, investigation, conflict resolution, employee training and recruitment. Outside of work, Emma enjoys exploring the great outdoors, health and fitness, theatre productions and spending time with her young family.


Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.

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