Peer Conferences have been around for hundreds or maybe even thousands of years in a variety of cultures. Mainstream business has seen the benefit of this process for about 30 years. When I was supervising a laundry department early in my career I was asked to develop a team atmosphere. I saw Peer Conferences as a great way to establish a collaborative and efficient work environment. Our team ultimately improved productivity by more than 20% while enhancing the overall work experience. Not bad for a laundry, which is traditionally a hot, sweaty, manually laborious work area. I conducted the Peer conferences as needed making sure to conduct at least one a week. They usually never lasted more than 20-30 minutes but they provided the motivation and the invigoration the team needed to be top-performing. Our team came together around the table in a way that ensured:

  • all participants were respected
  • all participants got to speak uninterrupted
  • participants could communicate their views effectively by sharing their stories and experiences
  • everyone was equal and valued as such
  • emotional aspects of each person was welcomed and valued

We found our Peer Conferences to be effective for a variety of purposes. They were especially helpful when the team:

  • needed to make decisions together
  • had a disagreement
  • needed to address one of the peer’s job performance
  • celebrated production achievements
  • wanted to learn from each other

One of the greatest growth opportunities for the team was when we utilized the Peer Conference process to hire new team members. As the supervisor, it was initially a challenge to ‘give up’ the ability to do the hiring. Several of the team approached me about what they felt were bad hiring decisions on my part. I offered to let them use the Peer Conference process if they felt they could do it better. Guess what? They did.

I have always been grateful for the opportunity I had at such an early point in my career to be exposed to the Peer Conference process. I am excited that Mediation Around The Table offers training and support for organizations wishing to improve performance and productivity among their various teams by implementing the Peer Conference process.

To find out more about the training and support offered by Mediation Around The Table for Peer Conferences click, use our

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