Restorative HR, the pioneering field of practice developed by Mayvin and Surrey County Council, is featured in a recent article in People Management.
The article, titled 'There’s more than one way to solve a dispute' champions several alternative approaches to conflict resolution in the workplace, including Restorative HR (RHR) which brings together HR and OD with restorative justice to help people solve HR problems for themselves.
The article's author, Jane Simms, describes how "most organisations manage conflict through formal procedures – disciplinaries, grievances, employment tribunals and the like – which are, of course, prime HR responsibilities. There are two problems with this approach. First, such procedures typically kick in when the conflict has escalated, and the longer it goes on the more difficult it is to resolve. Second, HR professionals and others are often guilty of ‘hiding behind’ the procedures and failing to address the low-level conflict that rumbles on all the time."
RHR, on the other hand, is all about 'dealing with the difficult while it's still easy', before problems reach the stage of lengthy (and often costly and draining) formal processes.
The results speak for themselves; thanks to using the RHR in the pilot programme with Mayvin, Surrey County Council reported that:
- Performance is improved more effectively and sympathetically
- Motivation is on the up and formal grievances are down
- On average 15% of casework is resolved through HR restorative practice
Mayvin Director James Traeger and RHR expert Carmel Millar (Director of People and Development at Surrey at the time of the programme) were interviewed for the article and shared how the coaching culture at the Council is key to the success of the approach as it means that leaders are "much more open and receptive to hearing what things are really like for people, which is a critical base to establish before you move into what might be thought of as ‘risky’ or ‘difficult’ conversations".
Together with other values-based approaches described
You can also find out more about the benefits of using a restorative approach in our toolkit, available as a free download on the resources page of our website.