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Specialist Workplace Services

Conflict occurs in the workplace from time to time, and when it does it can have a negative impact on good working relationships and on workplace productivity. When conflict occurs it is a challenge for everyone, including those immediately affected by it and those working alongside them. It also presents supervisors and managers with additional burdens, not only in dealing with the personal impact on members of the work group but also managing the consequential disruptive effect that it can have on the productivity of the area.

EAS delivers a high quality industrial relations service and advice on workplace grievances and issues as outlines below:

Services

Assessment and reporting

Benefits

Mediation

 

Mediation and alternative dispute resolution is fast becoming every organisations preferred method of resolving complaints and conflict. The process assists in avoiding appearing in hearings and courts, also avoids the legal costs and time delays associated with traditional dispute resolution.

EAS facilitates the process to agreement by assisting parties to understand their motivations and needs and communicate these with clarity throughout the negotiation. We use empirical models in our processes in order to achieve long-term resolution in over 99% of cases.

Mediation is a confidential process and efforts to undermine this should be resisted. Involved parties must retain a free choice of neutrals (who have adequately revealed any conflicts of interest).

Examples of cases are termination, employment terms and conditions, interpersonal conflict, OH & S, WC.

  • A one off matter that has not been resolved and now requires closure
  • Best practice models of Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Helping Employers change processes to incorporate Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Adding a standard clause into Employers commercial agreements that ensures Alternative Dispute Resolution is a compulsory step in the process
  • Upgrading Employers current complaint management systems to incorporate online negotiation and dispute resolution
  • Interim and final report

Investigation

 

EAS has conducted many successful investigations within the corporate environment. Varying from sexual harassment, drug use, theft and misconduct to dismissal and criminal offences.

Although EAS focuses on a proactive approach when employees are suspect, sometimes investigations are required to identify illegal activities that are present within the workplace requiring more subtle strategies.

Our team of HR/IR investigators have many years of experience undertaking complex workplace investigations. Most of our investigators have had many years of experience and are familiar with the process of conducting interviews with suspects and witnesses, collecting, collating and analysing evidence, and appearing in Court/Tribunals.

EAS works closely with legal personnel in the preparation and presentation of complex briefs in preparation for presentation at Court/Tribunal proceedings.

EAS personnel can (and do) regularly appear in Various Courts and Tribunals.

All work is carried out in the strictness of confidence and professionalism.

 

Investigations can be conducted for the following:

  • Fraud
  • Theft within the workplace
  • Property Loss
  • Workplace Abuse
  • Terms of Reference
  • Interim and final report

 

 

Case Appraisal – Alternative Dispute Resolution

 

An approved EAS case appraiser will listen to cases of both parties in conflict, as presented by themselves or their representative.

The case appraiser will assess the merits of each case and comes to a decision about the dispute.

The decision is then put in writing and a copy is given to each party. The case appraiser will meet with both parties to decide how the appraisal will progress and whether any statements or submissions are required.

After assessing the merits of each case the appraiser will come to a decision about the dispute and put that decision in writing.

If a party is not happy with the case appraiser's decision, they can elect to litigate in the usual way.

 

A case appraisal decision is based on the appraiser's independent assessment, not on agreement between the parties.

  • Interim and final reports

 

Conciliation

The process of alternative dispute resolution (mediation & conciliation) commences with preliminary discussions with all parties, structured liaison between participants, agreement development and formal administration of the agreement.

EAS will facilitate and administer the process from commencement of conciliation through to resolution.

Alternative Dispute Resolution is based on a consensual mutual process of understanding and negotiation and should not be confused with legal proceedings.

Parties engaging in mediation and conciliation should agree that an alternative to litigation exists and EAS can facilitate the outcomes.

Participants may elect to use neutral meeting facilities or our accredited mediators can attend the Employers workplace or other location preferred by both parties.

 

We will reach agreement by means of:

  • The creation of a harmonious and equitable atmosphere for resolution.
  • Determining and promoting understanding of interests, needs and motivations.
  • Logically enhancing the key elements of all parties perspectives.

Employers will be able to:

  • Resolve differences and reach a satisfactory agreement for all parties.
  • Enter or return to a viable business/employment relationship.
  • Return promptly to core business responsibilities.
  • Where possible, avoid costly litigation and ongoing disputes.
  • Interim and final report.

Conflict Coaching

 

EAS qualified and experienced team can provide a one-on-one, individual, voluntary and confidential process for people managing and/or experiencing the effects of workplace conflict.

We combine the two burgeoning fields of coaching and alternative dispute resolution, to support individuals to develop insight and practical skills for managing conflict.

Unlike other methods, such as mediation, it can be applied in situations where there is reluctance to openly identify conflict or it is untimely or inadvisable to bring parties together to address a conflict.

Training in conflict coaching methods is a highly effective way of developing conflict competency in managers and supervisors. It is also a highly effective early intervention strategy or aid to early return to work, following conflict-related occupational stress injuries.

Conflict coaching is designed to give people in conflict a better understanding of their situation, and to help them to develop their own skills and the confidence to better manage difficult workplace dynamics. It is about facilitating in an individual a sense of self-determination and choice.

It is aimed at assisting people who want to develop or improve the way they deal with conflict, and to gain insight into their own dispute resolution style and possible contribution to unproductive interactions.

It helps a person to identify and gain insight into their own interests and those of others, to work on skills to resolve conflict in constructive and conciliatory ways, to practice alternative ways to replace habitual and counterproductive behaviours, and to enable effective and satisfying problem solving.

A coach is also able to provide individuals and members within a work unit with the skills to resolve specific disputes or to gain the skills necessary to address and prevent potential future conflict. The relationship between the coach and the person being coached is based on trust and it is confidential.

 

Participants may elect to use our neutral meeting facilities or our accredited mentors can attend the EMPLOYERS workplace or other location preferred by both parties.

  • Ongoing communication is supported through a platform of planned face to face meetings, electronic conferencing, email and phone.

We work with individuals to:

  • clarify and achieve their conflict management goals
  • develop insight into the dynamics of their conflict
  • explore their options and make informed choices
  • develop the practical skills essential to making conflict strategies work
  • reduce the human and organisational costs of conflict  

The coach acts as a personal consultant, supporter, adviser, motivator, trainer and 'sounding board' and assists a person to:

  • identify their goals " examine their views about the conflict and how to deal with it
  • gain more insight into how the conflict impacts on them and others
  • shift how they respond to conflict
  • encourage and help them to develop and apply problem-solving skills.

Evaluative Mediation

Avoiding the escalation of a particular workplace conflict is a cost effect and strategically important process to implement into EMPLOYERS processes.

When problems between individuals or businesses aren't addressed, they can result in productivity decline, psychological injuries, breakdown of services and risk to the organisations health.

By independently assessing a situation or investigating a grievance, EAS can advise on the best course of action to resolve the matter quickly and fairly.

Our team have various qualifications specialising in business, human resources, service level agreements, asset determination, law and psychology. We are able to resolve a single conflict or identify patterns and the source of conflict.

 

  • Grievance Investigation and Resolution
  • Cultural Reform Programs
  • Workplace Mediation
  • Management Training and Development in Conflict Prevention
  • Strategic and Operational Human Resource Management Implementation
  • Interim and final report

Facilitation

 

EAS would run the agenda to ensure that all participants are aware of, and agree with, the purpose of the session. The purpose would be visible at all times – using whiteboard/butchers paper techniques.

Using our Facilitation Program we would work through a strategy of people identification with all involved ensuring the group is comfortable and has adequate breaks as these during these design sessions people may become very enthusiastic about their work and tired people do not work well.

Setting the ground rules and ensuring the group agree with them for example:

  • All ideas are valid
  • Have your say, and listen to others
  • All participants are equal
  • No mobile phones
  • One meeting at a time
  • Be punctual

EAS Facilitators would focus and motivate the group in discussions ensuring any splintering into separate discussion groups is avoided. Leading by example the Facilitator does not take sides, instead will ask the group to resolve any issues.

It is the responsibility of the group to work towards the required outcome – the EAS Facilitator's responsibility is simply to support the process.

 

EAS would facilitate a process to enable groups to work cooperatively and effectively.

This is particularly important in circumstances where people of diverse backgrounds, interests and capabilities work together.

  • Interim and final report

 

Fact Finding

 

Justice depends on correct factual findings, and a fundamental measure of a potentially positive outcome is the accuracy and skill with which facts are found.

Discerning what is accurate or inaccurate in the testimony of a truthful witness may be the most difficult task of all. Witnesses sympathetic to a litigant may, unconsciously, give a strong colouring to the facts, and remember things that were not seen, and misrepresent things that were seen.

A qualified EAS Consultant would focus on probabilities and inconsistencies, rather than demeanour based on the appropriate standard (i.e. balance of probability, or beyond reasonable doubt, underpinned by the application of the rules of procedural fairness).

Close attention is paid to contemporaneous documents. Where oral testimony is in conflict with contemporaneous documents, it may be unreasonable to believe what the witness says. The probabilities and consistency of the witness's version should be measured against the incontrovertible and agreed facts as well as the remainder of the witness's evidence (including that given on other occasions).

Regard should then be had to the other facts found. Other facts relating to credit may be relevant. But the probabilities, together with external and internal consistency, should always be the touchstone of factual findings.

Finally, attention must be given to the demeanour of the witness.

 

  • Experienced confidential team of consultants equipped to identify accurate facts and findings and to independently provide a synopsis of events of issues of importance to Employers.
  • Interim and final report

 

Representation in Tribunal/ Commission

 

A qualified EAS consultant is fully equipped to represent Employers before either the AIRC/various state IRC's or approved Tribunals to the conclusion of conciliation and/or arbitration.

Workplace practices in Australia have changed dramatically over the last decade and will continue to change. The internationalisation of the Australian economy and the decentralisation of the industrial relations system has placed unprecedented responsibility for setting wages and conditions on Employers and employees at the workplace level. More than ever before, the success of every enterprise depends on its employee relations performance.

Federal and state workplace relations legislation has undergone substantial reform over the past few years.

With such change occurring, Employers are increasingly relying on commercially-focused legal strategies to maximise workforce productivity and reliability, sound workplace relations and to prevent industrial disputes.

Focusing on formulating and implementing appropriate industrial relations strategies means our clients are better positioned to achieve optimal human resource outcomes and minimise disputes. We identify industrial opportunities and threats, and prepare timetables and action plans to supplement the strategy rollout. We also use our extensive experience advising on enterprise bargaining and workplace agreements to help clients meet their commercial and workplace objectives.

 

EAS qualified team can resolve Employers workplace issues such as:

Unfair dismissal, redundancy, unlawful termination, discrimination, resignation, harassment, workers compensation

 

Our workplace relations services include:

  • developing workplace relations strategies
  • strategic planning in workplace reform
  • preventing, managing and resolving industrial disputes
  • developing, negotiating and processing enterprise agreements (including both union and non-union collective agreements)
  • managing the effective implementation and utilisation of individual employment arrangements
  • arrangements, including strategies to address transmission of business and freedom of association issues
  • advocacy before industrial tribunals and courts
  • providing tailored training products to line management to assist them in dealing with workplace issues.

We are focused on the early identification of industrial opportunities and threats, and the development and implementation of plans to help you address these.

Our extensive experience in advising on enterprise bargaining and workplace agreements means we are well placed to help you meet you commercial and workplace objectives, and minimise disputes, during these negotiation periods.