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Objective Edge Office ombuds help smooth conflicts--without litigation.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Israela Brill-Cass couldn't decide whether or how tolet a troublesome employee go, the attorney and executive directorof Boston Law Collaborative LLC called in Dina Beach Lynch. Actingas an ombuds, Beach Lynch helped the 10-person Boston firm navigatethe process in a way that left everyone as satisfied aspossible.

"It was a very difficult time for us," saysBrill-Cass, 37. "But with a lot of guidance and support fromDina, we realized that the good of the group was atstake."

An ombuds--the shortened, currently favored version ofombudsman--is a neutral person who helps companies solve HRproblems and reach business goals. The concept dates back centuriesand has long been a fixture in academia, government and some largecompanies. The value of having a person to whom employees canconfidentially bring their questions and concerns has been provenin many organizations. Nowadays, ombuds appear in entrepreneurialcompanies, where their benefits get tested on a smaller stage.

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