Facilitated Discussions

Facilitated Discussions

When workplace interactions become difficult and communication is strained, individuals require assistance in getting relationships back on track.  The most effective method for solving interpersonal problems at work is through facilitated discussions, which are face-to-face conversations between disputing employees and/or supervisors. 

Facilitated discussions are informal, non-punitive, and not part of the Appalachian State University progressive disciplinary process.  No documentation is gathered or archived except for a consent form to protect participants. Participants have control over the process (e.g., together decide what their next steps will be) as well as confidentiality (e.g., together decide with whom to share information).

In order to achieve a successful resolution, all parties must agree to participate in good faith.  A workable solution usually consists of compromise on the parts of both parties, with the end result being that both parties mutually benefit by moving forward into a better place than they were before the discussion. Most discussions require only one meeting.  Depending upon the complexity of the particular situation, follow-up discussions can be arranged if needed.

Facilitators are neutral; they do not judge, advocate, or render decisions. The role of facilitators is to guide the discussion, assure that each participant voice is heard, promote understanding and communication, and explore a variety of resolutions.  The Office of Human Resources maintains a pool of on-campus facilitators who are trained and certified by Carolina Dispute Settlement Services.  Facilitators enter into discussions with no prior knowledge of the situation and little, if any, knowledge of the participants.  To ensure a neutral and unbiased process, participants are given the opportunity to approve the facilitators.  Should a participant believe that a selected facilitator cannot be neutral in their case, an alternate facilitator will be identified for consideration.

Facilitated discussions are available to Appalachian State University faculty and staff members who are experiencing workplace differences.  The Office of Human Resources, Employee Relations Division, makes the necessary arrangements. 

To request a facilitated discussion or obtain more information, contact one of our Employee Relations Consultant:  Daniel Bryan at bryande@appstate.edu or 828-262-6624.