The rise of the workplace ombudsman

A look at the benefits, the risks and how to use this function properly
By Parisa Nikfarjam
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/10/2015

Workplace conflict can be costly. It can have a negative impact on workplace culture and productivity and — if left to fester — can result in unplanned legal costs. As such, addressing workplace conflict expeditiously and internally can save an organization both time and money, and restore the workplace in an efficient and effective manner. 


One of the mechanisms for internal conflict resolution has been an ombudsman. This is a person (or office) who oversees or assists with the investigation and resolution of workplace complaints. They are, however, different than HR or equity/fairness officers, and the common functions of an ombudsman are to serve as a dispute resolution office, a prevention mechanism and an agent of change within an organization.