Usually the initial meeting is followed by a face to face meeting between the two involved employees. They can listen to each other's side of the story. They are encouraged to use emotions in words such as "hurt", displeased, unsatisfied etc in order to convey the impact on other's behavior accurately.
The other technique is where employee and supervisor are involved. This is a difficult situation because one person is obviously in a position of power and hence it is important to immediately have HR involved. Involvement of HR can lead to more objective resolution.
Even though our firm has so far managed to avoid major conflicts, the problem with both techniques is that some people complain of favoritism. They feel that the supervisor or HR was biased and hence that particular action was taken. However I feel this can be avoided if the company used peer mediation technique which is successfully used in schools across United States.
Peer mediation works because it is a more natural way of resolving conflict. Remember in school when we had problems with another student, our friends would step in and make sure things were resolved or at least cleared. Peer mediation works in exactly the same manner and it works because those who are involved in resolution process are colleagues and not higher-ups.
Peer mediation is the technique "where students of the same age-group facilitate resolving disputes between two people or small groups. This process has proven effective in schools around the United States, changing the way students understand and resolve conflict in their lives. Changes include improved self-esteem, listening and critical thinking skills, and school climate for learning, as well as reduced disciplinary actions and less fights. These skills are transferable outside of the classroom."1
Before choosing the appropriate technique however, it is very important to consider some other critical factors such as what led to the conflict, why did it start in the first place. Secondly the relationship between the two parties must also be taken into account. It is also fair to look at the bigger picture and study the general behavior of the involved parties. This paves way for looking for a technique that befits the situations and can work well.
What I like about our organization is its fair use of HR services. Whenever a conflict arises, we are asked to present a written complaint to the HR department. This is a great way of a) having a person put down his thoughts and clear his head and b) bringing the conflict in HR's notice and thus having a documented proof of what happened.
Introducing HR to any conflict is almost always a welcome technique because HR is supposed to be objective and they are more interested in resolving the conflict than taking sides. It is the job of Human resource department to listen to the grievances of employees and solve their problems.
When resolving conflicts, it must also be borne in mind that many conflicts may arise due to diversity of workforce. As workforce becomes more and more diverse, the number of conflicts is also on the rise. This happens simply because people come from a variety of backgrounds and they may fail to comprehend each other. Misinterpretation is an imminent possibility in all situations and hence