In order to ensure a peaceful work environment and the amicable resolution of workplace disputes, the World Bank Group (WBG) has strengthened its internal justice system through the promotion of mediation services for staff and associates.
The Office of Mediation Services (MEF) is part of the Bank’s Internal Justice System (Conflict Resolution System), a group of independent offices that report directly to the President’s office.
It offers impartial conflict resolution services to WBG staff. The objective of the Office of Mediation Services is to offer conflict resolution services that are safe, independent, impartial and informal and promote open and respectful communication.
Through the work of the Office, hundreds of internal disputes which could have had devastating effect on the output of the bank, have been amicably resolved.
Headed by Camilo Azcarate, the Office of Mediation Services offers a range of services including mediation, group facilitation and trainings on conflict resolution.
According to the Office, “80 per cent of cases that use mediation reach an agreement, and over 95 per cent of participants find mediation very useful, regardless of the outcome.”
Testimonials from users indicate the high benefits of mediation for the World Bank staff across regions.
As an opportunity to increase the quality of the communication and relationships, mediation is immensely valuable in promoting harmony at the workplace.
To make it easy for the staff to adapt, the Office has laid simple steps for the process.
Step 1 – Intake: Mediation is initiated by a request to the Mediation Services Office (MEF). That request can be a simple e-mail sent, a phone call or walk-in to the office. Any current or former staff member or consultant may request a mediation for any work-related issue. Once a request is received, MEF will contact all participants to conduct an intake. The purpose of the intake is to ensure the participants’ understanding of the process and to help MEF determine whether the case is appropriate for mediation.
Step 2 – Mediation: if the case is deemed appropriate for mediation, participants will be asked to come to an initial mediation session. The participants are required to sign an Agreement to Mediate and may rank their preference of the mediator from MEF’s list of internal and external mediators. After the first session, any participant is free to decide whether they want to continue with the process or withdraw from it.
Step 3 – Agreement: If the issues are settled through mediation, the mediator will draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which records specific agreements made by all participants. By signing an MOU neither participant admits fault. However, a signed MOU is a binding commitment for all the participants.
By Edmund Mingle/ adrdaily.com