Issues Resolution & Dispute System Design

Stuff happens – between employers, employees, boards, committees, unions and individuals. People behave thoughtlessly, badly or unlawfully; they bully and harass; systemic failures become apparent; people get hurt, and performance suffers; legal and operational risks emerge. 

And as they arise, issues have to be dealt with. Not just to make them go away, but to resolve them efficiently, cost effectively, fairly and durably. Some matters need expert and dispassionate investigation. In other cases, empathetic and creative mediation is called for. Sometimes systems or processes need to be developed, reviewed or overhauled.

When asked and where appropriate, we mediate, investigate and conduct broader workplace reviews and re-appraisals.

We prefer, though, an invitation to work upstream. It's far more productive and satisfying to change the approach to issues-resolution. The default mode is to channel flare-ups into grievances and investigations. Risk mitigation, ostensibly. Or asserting rights. What then typically happens is that a chain of allegations and rebuttals is unleashed. A cone of silence descends, courtesy of considerations of confidentiality and privacy. Rumours abound, suspicions are heightened and relationships unravel further. Appeal procedures are invoked. Things escalates, and then they drag. Those involved feel exhausted and intimidated by it all.

Sometimes grievances do indeed need to be formally lodged; sometimes investigations do indeed need to be expeditiously triggered. Mostly, though, in our experience, those reflexes aggravate rather than resolve. The alternative? Evaluate early and judiciously. Put in serious resources at the outset if the portents look serious. Match the issue with the optimum process. Thorough but informal issue-assessment coupled with intensive problem-solving often commends itself. Dispute prevention should start at the point of recruitment, when expectations are set. An organisational commitment to respect, education over rights and the cultivation of inter-personal resilience should all be in play. Legal compliance and risk mitigation are hygiene factors, not the keys to a great workplace. Invest in dispute system design, and lead it back to dispute prevention and foundational relationship building. Co-designed, not imposed.

How do we help?

Mediation, Investigations and Arbitration – how we help

We are accomplished and experienced workplace mediators, investigators and arbitrators. We can help establish the facts of a matter and, when appropriate, propose solutions. We are skilled at bringing parties to their own, agreed resolutions. 

CoSolve is also experienced and practised in working with legal representatives in mediating disputes to agreed outcomes. 

Where parties agree terms of reference, we can determine disputes through voluntary arbitration.

Specialised Training – how we help

We are experienced and skilled at developing key skills necessary for effective consultation. 

CoSolve has developed extensive resources and materials to support leaders and negotiators in all aspect of negotiation, bargaining, problem-solving and consultation. We can help specifically by provides training in the principles and techniques of –

  •  interest-based bargaining;
  • efficient and inclusive consultation;
  • collaborative work process improvement and workplace problem-solving.

Dispute Settlement Design – how we help

We can assist governments, corporations and organisations with the design and establishment of modern, effective and efficient consultation and dispute resolution processes and structures. 

CoSolve can assist with – 

  • conflict analysis;
  • the review and adaptation of consultative and negotiating structures;
  • drafting or the refinement of consultative committee constitutions and other labour-management charters;
  • dispute system design.

Strategic Support and Coaching – how we help

When contemplating or conducting a leading edge or transformational strategy, it is often valuable for leaders to take the opportunity to talk through ideas or concepts in a safe environment. 

CoSolve can provide leaders with candid and frank feedback, challenge or test assumptions and identify otherwise unexplored alternatives.