Case Study





What was the HR situation?

  • Our client had two members of staff, a member of the senior leadership team (SLT) and a member of teaching staff who did not work well together following a disagreement some years previously over a personal matter.  It was a small school. 
  • This had led to awkward working relationships, a dysfunctional team dynamic and the school and colleagues having to work around their lack of cooperation. It also impacted on team morale and lead to formal grievances being raised.
  • As with any formal employee relations dispute this requires time taken up to investigate and often results in ill feeling amongst colleagues whilst that dispute is being managed and resolved. 
  • Our mediator was brought in to facilitate a mediation session as an alternative to a formal grievance procedure, potential staff absence, duty of care, litigation and potential exit of one or both members of staff.

How did the Birch-HR Consultant(s) support?

  • This entailed a short one to one discussion with each member of staff prior to the mediation session to outline the process and provide the staff with an opportunity to ask questions and talk about any concerns they had before the session began.
  • Naturally, there were anxieties around how it would work and what it would be like speaking to the person they had fallen out with.
  • One the day of the mediation, it was clear that the two members of staff did not get along and there were many issues that needed to be addressed.
  • However, the facilitative mediation session took place and the two were able to address their issues, agree on a way forward that was suitable for them and the school. This was done in a confidential setting, with support and understanding from the mediator which allowed the two members of staff to be able to speak openly and work through their issues with a neutral person (a ‘mediator’) to find a solution. 

What was the outcome and how did HR add value?

  • Due to the impact and skills of the mediator, both members of staff were then able to work together in a professional manner and set aside personal differences for the future. 
  • No further grievances were raised. 
  • Our mediators are also HR Consultants, so they really understand the leadership, people dynamics and how workplace policy frameworks pragmatically apply in the workplace.

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