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Mythbusters guide to: Neutral Assessment

Neutral Assessment – is a process where an independent and neutral person is appointed to assist in understanding the causes of complex employment issues and helping to identify potential solutions.

Myth #1

The process can be used in any type of employment dispute

No. The process is best suited to situations where there are complex team/group issues for example, collective or counter grievances, a culture of bullying/harassment. If there is a factual dispute and a need for findings of fact, the process will not be suitable as a neutral assessment report will only identify common themes rather than attributing/apportioning blame to certain individuals.

Myth #2

People will be able to identify me

Anything said in a neutral assessment interview is entirely confidential. The assessor will discuss with you any information that might be used in the report and whether that information could potentially identify you personally and check what you are comfortable with being reported.

Myth #3

It’s a soft option and employees will feel we are not addressing the problem(s)

No. The process can be very empowering for the individuals involved as it allows employees the opportunity to be listened to, speak with someone empathetic about what is concerning them and provide them with an opportunity to confidentially discuss what they would like to be done to resolve the issue.

Myth #4

I won’t know the outcome / recommendations made

Individuals who have taken part in the neutral assessment process will receive feedback from the assessor(s); that feedback might differ from case to case depending on the issues involved and recommendations made. However, the assessors will prepare a confidential executive summary to be shared with all of the people that took part.

Myth #5

Evidence gathered can be used in subsequent formal processes

No. It’s an informal process. Evidence gathered as part of the process will be fed back to those instructing us (normally senior HR professional/member of management) in a non-attributable way. Where themes are identified e.g inappropriate behaviour, the assessors might recommend coaching for particular individuals (anonymised) with a view to feeding back how others perceive their behaviour and the impact that it is having.

Myth #6

It will be expensive & time consuming

The cost will depend upon the number of people involved. We will carry out an initial briefing meeting with you to understand the issues / potential numbers involved and provide an outline estimate of costs and timescales.

If you are finding a current situation stressful and would like to explore whether workplace mediation could help or you are a Manager/HR professional within an organisation and have a matter that you consider might benefit from the services of an independent workplace mediator please contact Dionne Dury, Employment Solicitor and Workplace Mediation specialist on 01603 214 204 or email dionnedury@hatchbrenner.co.uk

If you would like further information about any service, call us on 01603 214220