What is a joint resolution process and how does it work?
It is an opportunity to resolve issues and concerns in an informal and safe environment with an impartial facilitator. This process enables people in conflict to:
- Talk constructively
- Work together to clarify issues that can be addressed to improve the relationship
- Both say and hear important things which may not have been communicated before
- Understand different perspectives
- Problem-solve a way forward together.
Having facilitated resolution conversations offers a confidential and independent process before escalation to complaints or more formal procedures (and in some cases can occur alongside formal processes). Resolvers do not advise, judge or make decisions, but facilitate a productive and supportive conversation to work towards conflict resolution.
The resolution process has two stages – an individual private meeting between the co-resolvers and each person involved in the conflict, followed by a joint session between all parties. Two resolvers (external to the involved departments) will typically be assigned to each case. The individual session is an opportunity for the co-resolvers to listen to individual concerns and explain how a joint resolution session could help. The joint session is a collaborative conversation, structured and supported by the co-resolvers to ensure that all parties are able to say what they need to say, listen to others, and find a way forward. It is a confidential process.
This ‘resolution’ process can also be referred to as ‘mediation’. We have decided to use ‘resolution’ rather than ‘mediation’, as the latter term can connote ideas of legal proceedings or more limiting, transactional views of conflict resolution. Resolvers have been trained as workplace mediators, with a focus on repairing relationships.