Guidance through difficult conversations at work

In order for a workplace to thrive, it is important that employees are able to communicate effectively with each other, particularly over differences of opinion, different expectations, a clash of values or other conflict that may damage working relationships if not dealt with effectively.

Sometimes employees or managers need assistance in preparing for and conducting effective conversations about difficult topics.

Facilitated Discussion

A facilitated discussion provides practical assistance to the parties to understand, organise and communicate their own needs and expectations and to be open to communication from the other part(ies). Engaging assistance in the form of a facilitated discussion empowers employees to tackle difficult issues in a pro-active and respectful way.

In a facilitated discussion, the facilitator assists the parties to prepare for and engage in a conversation around the issues that are causing conflict. A facilitator will assist each party individually to:

  • Identify the issues that are at stake;
  • Clarify specific examples of the behaviour to be discussed;
  • Understand more about their own emotions around and contributions to the issue;
  • Clarify what is at stake if the issue cannot be resolved
  • Prepare to have a conversation with the other person about the issues.

A facilitator will then assist the parties in joint session to:

  • Communicate their concerns in a respectful way
  • Open to understanding of the other person’s perspective
  • Identify ways that the conflict might be resolved or at least progressed.

Facilitated discussions are a flexible tool that can be used to assist with many different kinds of concerns. You don’t need to wait for a complaint and there doesn’t even need to be two people involved to benefit from assistance in preparing for and delivering effective communication. Facilitated discussions are flexible enough to allow a process of including Human Resources or other managers into the discussion.

Facilitated discussions have been used effectively to assist:

  • Managers to have performance management conversations with their direct reports
  • Colleagues to agree on some ground rules for communication
  • Managers to think through and prepare for a conversation with a difficult but valuable team member
  • An employee who may have difficulty with assertiveness to prepare for and have a difficult conversation with their manager
  • Colleagues to discuss conflict over roles and responsibilities and to draft guidelines in conjunction with the HR advisor
  • A team of employees who have concerns after a change process.

Our approach to faciliated discussion

Worklogic facilitators are experienced and skilled at working with people to assist them to have conversations that matter.

Our first step is to discuss with you whether a particular workplace issue is suitable for facilitated discussion or whether a more formal approach, such as mediation would be more appropriate.

We will spend some time agreeing to the ground rules of the facilitated discussion – who is involved, what is the level of report back to the organization, whether assistance is required in preparation and or having the conversation. Then we will:

  1. Arrange to meet the participants separately to understand the issues, explain the process and to assist them to prepare for the facilitated conversation;
  2. Bring the participants together to outline their concerns and engage in facilitated discussion over the problem that needs to be addressed.
  3. Encourage the parties to look forward toward a resolution of the issue that brings them to discussion
  4.  Liaise with the organisation to communicate ways that the issue has been discussed and ways forward to resolve the problem at hand (depending on what has been agreed in the set up).

Our facilitator ensures that communication occurs in a respectful way and that the participants feel safe and heard. The participants are encouraged – but not forced – to reach agreement. If they are unable to reach an agreement that they can live with, they will at least have a better understanding of each other’s perspectives.

This is why clients trust us to help them resolve conflict in their workplaces.

Free Consultation

Book an obligation-free, confidential consultation to discuss conflict in your workplace and assess whether facilitated discussion is an effective approach to resolution.

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"Worklogic’s combination of professionalism and values make them a compelling and trusted service provider. We have engaged Worklogic for policy development, training and mediation and on all occasions have found them highly effective in achieving a sustainable outcome for Justice Connect and our staff."

Fiona Macleay, CEO, Justice Connect

In all of our dealings with Worklogic, we found them to be professional, understanding and sensitive to the issues we were dealing with and the confidentiality surrounding these. Worklogic was an excellent resource and provided valuable assistance with some complex and difficult matters.

Conrad Browne, General Manager, JOY 94.9

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