Mediation (or facilitated discussion) is a voluntary and confidential process that brings people together to move beyond polarities and transform a conflict into an opportunity by allowing stories to be shared. Some of the great advantages of mediation are that it allows people to stay in control of their own situations and provides a safe space to reset the relationship between people.

A Constructive Process. The role of the Ombuds/Mediator is to ensure a fair and balanced process -- one that enables everyone in mediation to be heard and to sort through their issues in a constructive way.

There are several ways the mediator accomplishes this:

  • Talking to each person individually before mediation to help them identify their underlying interests, rights, and goals, and to coach them in effective communication skills;
  • Establishing effective guidelines for the discussion; giving each person a chance to tell their story without interruption;
  • Helping each person to clearly identify, and articulate their concerns in a way that is authentic, understandable and constructive;
  • Guiding each person through and exploration of possible options for resolving conflict.

A Confidential ProcessIn order to encourage the fullest participation and exploration of the real concerns and options for addressing them, everyone who participates agrees that everything that is said in mediation is confidential.

The Parties Control the Decisions.  The people involved in the conflict are in control of the decisions made throughout the process and any agreements reached. As a result, they do not need to turn control over to another person (whether it be a higher level of management, a compliance office, a hearing officer or arbitrator, or anyone else in a position of authority). The Ombuds/Mediator will facilitate the discussion and provide structure for the productive exchange of ideas and options for potential resolution of the conflict.  However, the Ombuds/Mediator will not make decisions for the people involved, nor oversee or enforce the agreements reached.

New Mediation video

Watch this video to learn more about mediation at the Staff Ombuds Office.