DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROGRAM DESIGN
Successful managers understand that managing conflict in the workplace is an inevitable and integral aspect of the managerial role. Employees bring their unique values, experiences, ambitions and personalities into the workplace. However, if conflict is not properly managed between ambitious and creativeemployees, the result may be low employee morale and poor work performance.
Unfortunately, many supervisors and managers have not been formally trained in how to effectively process or resolve routine conflict between employees before it escalates to become a substantial and costly dispute. Should the conflict ultimately lead to a civil lawsuit, productivity and business costs can increase exponentially. For example, the average cost of defending an employment-related discrimination lawsuit to trial is estimated to be $100,000-$150,000. This cost estimate does not take into consideration the hidden expenses of information-gathering in advance of trial or the overall loss of productivity when key managers are distracted by litigation.
An integrated Dispute Resolution Program (DRP) is a program specifically designed for an organization to approach resolution of some or all of its disputes before, or soon after, lawsuits are filed. The Program will target categories of disputes and standardize the methods for resolution by integrating one or more voluntary and/or mandatory dispute resolution processes. The overall goal is to generate savings through early, more systematic and rapid dispute resolution to improve employee relations, retain employees, and eliminate employment litigation. The advantages of a professionally-developed DRP includes:
- A more efficient and productive workforce.
- A more comprehensive and efficient way of dealing with a wide range of employee conflicts.
- Maintaining confidentiality.
- Avoidance of the cost of protracted litigation.
- Avoidance of the potential risk of high civil damages and attorneys’ fees.
- Reduced discovery costs, outside counsel fees and related expenses.
- Preservation of business relationships that could potentially be damaged or destroyed by litigation.
- Avoidance of negative publicity associated with litigation.
- Reduced time burdens on internal resources.
- Improved internal and external business relationships.
When designing a system for resolving disputes for an organization, ADR, LLC, will give strong consideration to the culture of the company, the type of systems currently in place and DRP goals and objectives, including:
- An assessment of the costs and effectiveness of the organizations’ current policies, procedures and systems.
- The ability to quickly recognize certain types or categories of disputes.
- The development of dispute resolution that is appropriate for the dispute.
- Development of a consistent approach to resolving certain types or categories of disputes.
- The development of a progression of dispute resolution processes.
- How the neutrals will be selected, trained and paid.
- What staff will have a role and what those roles will be.
- How employees will be informed and trained about how to use the system.
- Whether the program will be voluntary or mandatory.
- What training is necessary to properly implement the DRP.
- How the DRP will be evaluated.
These factors can be used both for assessing the current system for resolving disputes and for designing and evaluating a new system that is to implemented. The development of an inclusive DRP is thus customized to meet the needs of the organization, taking into consideration and improving, if necessary, systems that are already in place. Such a system may include a combination of systems such as:
- Open door policies
- Peer review
- Mediation (internal or external)
- Arbitration (non-binding or binding)
We are available to consult with any organization interested in improving morale, reducing conflict, and reducing fees and expenses.
If you are interested in having us review your company conflict program, please complete this easy Quick Conflict Health Checklist and we would be happy to visit with you about what might best suit your company's program.