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Using Neutral Assessment

Neutral Assessment or ‘Early Neutral Evaluation’ is a diagnostic process that fills the gap between formal investigation and inaction. Its purpose is to untangle situations, assess risks and identify solutions to tricky, messy or unclear situations.

Internal disputes, rivalries and communications breakdowns take place in many workplaces, and when this happens on a team scale, neutral assessment is a useful, often overlooked, option.  But it is an effective option for changing the dynamic of a team conflict.  By bringing in an objective, external third party to explore the needs, positions and interests of those involved and focus parties on the future,  mind-sets can be shifted, solutions can be explored and risk-assessed and a viable way forward developed.

When to use Neutral Assessment

  • When people can’t resolve the issues themselves, and look to others for advice and support
  • When you know there are problems, but no-one wants to make a formal complaint
  • When a team works better without one or two individuals around
  • When individuals take sick-leave rather than face working in their team
  • When you’re concerned at the risk of escalation
  • When you need to bring a situation to an early and constructive close
  • When solutions are unclear, or situations complex

We work fast, impartially and confidentially to get the views of all involved, and produce a practical, realistic set of recommendations for how to move things forward constructively.  This will include any individual relationships in need of repair, and how to approach this, as well as interventions that will move the team forward, and the risks to mitigate in advance of this activity.

Our Neutral Assessors are skilled in rapidly gaining the trust of the individuals they talk to.  Emotionally intelligent, they also have strong questioning and analytical skills that enable them to dig beneath the presenting issues and get to the core of the matter.   They are solution-focused, and pragmatic in their recommendations, bringing to bear their considerable experience in the field of conflict resolution.

Find out more about Neutral Assessment

This paper explains why no amount of team-building activity is going to resolve a situation which has been festering for months and even years, and which has evolved into a complex series of conflicting relationships, fundamental disagreements and, in many cases, deliberately subversive behaviours.

It outlines how neutral assessment lets you answer the question that needs to be answered before there can be any possible ‘solution’ or plan for moving forward –  ‘what happened to destroy the team?’

Neutral Assessment Training

We train HR professionals and other managers in neutral assessment skills; this 2-day course is ILM Endorsed and builds skills and competence in:

  • understanding the dynamics of group conflict
  • analysing and auditing difficult situations
  • Neutral questioning techniques and advanced reflective listening
  • Risk assessing conflict situations
  • Formal and informal dispute resolution options and when to use them effectively

The benefits of developing this tool in-house

Your organisation will:

  • routinely and consistently risk assess conflict situations
  • have the skills to influence people about which method of dispute resolution to use, when
  • minimise the use of formal processes and increase the use of mediation
  • have the skills to identify and apply organisational learning from the situations assessed so that conflicts are less likely to arise in the future
  • have an enhanced ability to persuade individuals away from adversarial conflict resolution
  • have increased ability to rebuild difficult working relationships without recourse to unnecessary formal processes
  • have highly transferable interpersonal, investigative and dispute resolution skills

The trainer was enthusiastic and CMP “got” our business well.  Everyone rated the trainer very highly. I’m glad we made the decision to bring this into the business: it has helped our HR people feel more empowered to act. I’m sure we will find this very useful.

Neutral Assessment and Conflict Management Skills Training Commissioner and Delegate, Head of Learning and Development, a Private Sector Company

A great opportunity to fully focus on the neutral assessment model and how it might be effectively applied across the organisation… Engaging, attentive, supportive and encouraging trainer.

Neutral Assessment Training Delegate, HR Business PartnerMersey Care NHS Trust