Companies are not embracing mediation as a means of resolving workplace disputes, it has been suggested.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), almost three-fifths of organisations surveyed had never used the technique to help manage conflict.

However, of the firms that do utilise mediation, over 80 per cent reported that it helps to improve relationships between workers, while 71 per cent claimed that it reduces the stress involved with the use of formal disciplinary or grievance procedures.

"All employers should consider using mediation as a flexible alternative to the formal disciplinary or grievance procedure," stated Mike Emmott, CIPD employee relations adviser.

He added that more organisations should invest in training line managers in conflict management and informal mediation skills.

A professional body that represents those involved in the management and development of workers, the CIPD claims to have 130,000 members.