Mediation is commonly measured in terms of settlement rate (i.e. did the parties agree?) and you’ll see figures like ‘80% settlement rate’ bandied about. In our view this is not the only measure of success.
There are many more! Think about which measures matter to you – the parties, the mediators, and your organisation.
The context for mediation is right
The set up was effective – that is, that parties voluntarily entered mediation (they don’t arrive feeling they have been ‘told to attend’) and didn’t have any major misconceptions about mediation when they first met the mediator. The case was reasonable for mediation in that there were no concurrent formal processes going on; the right parties were involved; and the situation was within their power to resolve.
The parties engaged with the process
The parties agreed to meet, understood what they were there to do, and agreed to and did abide by the confidentiality requirements. They took ownership of what they had to say, were open and honest, direct with each other, and stated what they needed rather than what they thought about the other ‘side’. They moved from positions, through interests, to needs.
The parties left feeling good
Parties reported feeling fairly treated by the mediator. They perhaps felt or demonstrated a sense of relief and clarity of mind and clarity about their future. They felt more trust in each other at the end than they did at the beginning, and are able to reengage with their work and their employer.
An outcome has been produced
Parties willingly made agreements – the mediator did not push agreements on them, or get frustrated at not being able to! The parties came up with the ideas, and recognised the strengths in what they were agreeing to. The agreements were future focused, specific and built trust and relationship. And NOT ‘we agree to go to HR next time we have a problem’, or ‘we agree we won’t talk to each other’.
The effect is long lasting
Parties don’t need to go back to the process – they stick to any behavioural contract/agreement reached and feel able to work through their own issues should they arise. They have learned about themselves and each other as a consequence of the mediation, and are better able to manage themselves, and their communications, in the future. There has been a degree of ‘personal coaching’ in the whole experience.
Contact us if you’d like to find out new, meaningful ways of evaluating the impact and ‘success’ of your mediation service!