14
Years
4125
Organisations
1462
Mediations
4384
Trainees

TCM Core Services

Here at TCM, we pride ourselves on helping organisations resolve the toughest challenges. We train business leaders to build strong teams and manage organisational change.

As the UK’s leading mediation and resolution consultancy, we have worked with over 4,000 organisations to help them embed a culture of mediation.

Workplace Mediation

Workplace mediation has proven to reduce employee grievances by over 50%, and our customers have reported savings in excess of £180,000 a month. Workplace mediation services resolve complex and challenging disputes such as allegations of bullying, harassment or relationship breakdowns - swiftly, effectively and with as little disruption as possible.

Over 90% of disputes resolved in just one day

Investigation services

Our independent workplace investigation service is ideal for responding to a specific allegation or set of allegations. Areas covered by our investigations service include bullying, harassment, misconduct, discrimination, performance, grievances, whistleblowing, theft, fraud, bribery and complaints from customers, clients or services users.

Over 1,385 workplace investigations carried out

Management Training

Many leaders and managers are promoted based on their technical skills rather than their ability to handle people management challenges. As a result, valuable time and money is wasted, all of which could be spent growing your business. Based on proven teaching and learning methods, TCM helps develop the leaders that your company needs.

91% of business leaders feel they would benefit this training

National Certificate

The National Certificate in Workplace Mediation is our flagship course. This course has been delivered and refined over the past thirteen years and we have trained many hundreds of active mediators across the UK using the FAIR model™ of mediation. The course is delivered over a 5-6 day period for groups of between 6 to 12 delegates.

Fully accredited by the Open College Network (OCN)

Our Clients

Why use TCM integrated services

"Can you afford to ignore the cost of conflict to your business?"

Differences between individuals at work can lead to grievances, absenteeism and ultimately loss of valuable employees. As a result, workplace disputes cost businesses tens of thousands of pounds per year.

Mediation helps people sort out their differences - often in just one-day. That’s why organisations nationwide are increasingly using mediation to resolve workplace disputes. Mediation offers a faster, cheaper and more complete solution to conflict. Not only do companies save money by preventing the majority of disputes from progressing to costly employment tribunals, it can also make a real difference to people’s lives. Mediation offers all parties the chance to work together to find a realistic and constructive resolution to their conflict. This reduces employees’ levels of stress and gives them greater satisfaction at work.

Courses

About Courses

We offer a wide range of training courses including managing difficult conversations, workplace mediation and investigation skills. Our training courses are available nationwide and in-house. Our training can be tailored to the needs of your business and delivered at your premises.

Click view all courses to see our full range of courses and more information.  

View All Courses

Training and Service suites

Our service suites are based on our 14 years’ experience working with the UK’s largest organisations. Each suite is based on proven practical knowledge which can be specifically tailored to suit your business needs. Click on the suites below to find out how you can create a strong leadership, positive environment for employees and organisational growth. 

Workplace conflict costs employers thousands of pounds in lost time, absenteeism and lowered productivity. Visit the resolution suite to see how you can resolve these problems with mediation, early conciliation or the full adoption of the model resolution policy.

Employers will be held liable if a poor investigation leads to an unfair dismissal or fails to identify discrimination or other misconduct in the workplace. Visit this suite for information on workplace investigations and neutral investigations.

 

Many leaders and managers are promoted based on their technical skills rather than their ability to handle people management challenges. As a result, valuable time and money is wasted, all of which could be spent growing your business.

 

The Learning and Development suite - how to manage bad performance, create strong productive teams and investigate workplace grievances. Visit this suite to see our range of courses. 

 

A new approach to dispute resolution modelled around collaboration, dialogue, mediation and interest based negotiation. Enter this suite to find our more about integrated mediation and out-sourced mediation schemes. 

mediation promo

What is mediation and how does it work? How are organisations like M&S, EDF and Lloyds using mediation to save money and increase employee wellbeing?

Find out more

10-off-courses1

Interest in training – want a 10% discount? Book more than three months in advance and we will give you 10% of all courses. Call today and speak to an advisor.

Find out more

Monthly webinar

Want more information on leadership and management? Sign up for our monthly webinar and learn to resolve problems and create a collaborative team.

Find out more

Olympia Learning and Development event

Get ideas, tips and solutions at the FREE learning and development exhibition.

Visit our stand No 668 to receive information packs and talk to our representatives about how we can help your business in creating a healthy, conflict-free working environment.

News & Articles

TCM 14 year story

TCM Story - From conflict to consensus

How one mediation company is changing the face of workplace dispute resolution

By Tim Smedley

Standing in an inner-city estate in Leicester, David Liddle takes a deep breath. It's 1995, and the young mediator has been using his skills to help solve community issues for a couple of years already. But now he's stood outside a house - thick with smoke, sweat, and 20 angry residents baying for the blood of the local teenagers who have tipped the street into all-out-war. David collects his thoughts, steels himself, and goes inside.

This is a case that David remembers fondly, for it was ultimately a great success. “The mediation process brought the entire street together and gave all residents a chance to explore their concerns and resolve some of the underlying problems” recalls David. But it was not the toughest assignment in his 8 years running one of the first community mediation schemes in the UK. The most serious was in the aftermath of a young girl's murder by her ex-boyfriend, who went on to commit suicide. The two families were devastated and diametrically opposed, a shrine set up in his memory had been desecrated and the entire community had been torn in two. “The inquest had been scheduled and the police’s family liaison officer requested mediation to help calm the dangerously strained relations between the 2 families”, David recounts. “On the day of the inquest, the father of the murdered girl said, via the local paper, that he understood the other family had experienced a loss too. Prior to the mediation he saw the boy (and his family) as the devil incarnate. I use that as a benchmark – if those two families can come into a room together, then anyone can.”

The decision to apply his mediation techniques to a workplace setting came almost by accident 

The Local Authority was going through a substantial period of change in the late 1990s and asked David to mediate in disputes that arose from that change.

“Some of the issues that people were raising in terms of their reaction to organisational change was very similar to what people would say to me when they'd experienced criminality, offending or neighbour disputes: sleeplessness, anxiety, the trauma and the stress of conflict”, he says.“I saw for the first time that this was happening in offices, and that the skills set and model that I'd created translated into a workplace setting.” 

In response David put himself through an MBA, wrote a thesis on the emerging management system 'Total Quality Management' – TQM – and wondered if by dropping the 'Q' and adding a 'C' – Conflict – he could combine his new business interests with his mediation experience. 

“The principles of TQM – whole organisational change, regularly reviewing and adapting processes, multiple stakeholder engagement – worked in terms of conflict management too”, says David. He set up TCM – or Total Conflict Management – in June 2001. One of TCM’s first clients was the Cabinet Office. “I don't know how they heard about me, but they did”, he laughs. “There weren't many competitors out there doing this at that time and the majority of those who were had mostly adapted a previous offering into a workplace arena – whereas what I had set up was specifically dedicated to mediating conflict in the workplace, and I was pretty much the first to do so. The word must have spread."

The Power of Mediation

Mediation gives everyone the space and the time to step out of themselves. To say, 'everyone stop. Pause. Let's come into another space which is safer.

The-Story-of-TCM-1

TCM trains over 1,000 individuals annually - managers, HR professionals, business leaders 

TCM offers both open-access courses at the TCM HQ in the City of London, or bespoke courses for companies in-house, the training is accredited by the Open College Network and the Institute of Leadership and Management. TCM also offers external mediation for high level disputes, parachuting in “when a HR director is really running out of options”, as David puts it, as well as consultancy, diagnostic tests and establishing organisational systems and processes to help to manage conflict.  

Julie Foster, the Equality and Diversity Manager at Hertfordshire Constabulary, approached TCM to help set up an internal mediation service in 2010. “Police
officers are taught similar skills for dispute resolution, for neighbourhood disputes in particular. But we didn't have a workplace mediation service”, she explains. “We ran a thorough tender process to help set one up and TCM won.”

When asked what TCM offered that others did not, she responds, “Oh that's easy – absolute partnership and flexibility... that's continued right up to today. If there's ever anything I've got a query about or we want to explore, I just ring up and I know they will be there to support us. Our feeling right from the beginning has been borne out over time.”

The power of mediation, argues Carole Russell, Head of Employee Relations, BT Retail, who has worked with TCM for over three years, is in “offering people alternatives. our culture was such that individuals had to go down formal grievance route. Putting an end to that was the real selling point for the business."

“But even more important was being able to get in very quickly and address issues before they became entrenched.” Initially Carole attended a TCM course and gained became a TCM accredited Mediator (“a week of training followed by submitting coursework”), and then asked TCM to advise on setting up an internal mediation service. “Whilst one person can do a mediation, that  is only one person. Within BT Retail there are 23,000  employees, and within that many people will have issues. TCM advised, coached, and then we sat down and agreed how we could extend the approach to the wider BT  Group.”

“We completely changed the way that we interacted with our people when they were raising issues or complaints”, continues Carole, who now manages the  internal team of mediators. “Traditionally, if an individual raised a complaint we relied on a more formal process of dispute resolution. It was more adversarial. Really that was missing out on the opportunity to address the real issues, sit down and go through them – and that's what mediation does. Everybody wins with mediation, no-one loses.”

Having now taken part in thousands of successful mediation sessions, David believes that, “Mediation  gives everyone the space and the time to step out of  themselves. To say, 'Everyone stop. Pause. Let's come  into another space which is safer, and where we can look at this in the round'. In doing so mediation encourages people to become more rational, more reflective... And the mediator is very active in that process, getting the parties to transform or re-frame their thinking in a way that derives real value from the conflict. What I mean by that is mediation enables the parties to take responsibility for the conflict and it’s resolution. The mediator  helps them to have an empathic and compassionate  conversation. That's what we do.”

See our Case Studies

The Business Benefits

Mediation not only allows employees to feel happier and come back to work, but also instils in people that the best way to resolve issues is to get them out in the open, sit down and discuss them.

TCM story 4

The Cost of Conflict in the Business

Eleven years ago, when TCM first started out, the business benefits of mediation weren't so well-known. In fact, the term 'mediation' itself wasn't widely understood. Now, however, the evidence is strong. The costs of conflict run to an estimated annual £33 billion to UK business according to the CBI, taking up 20% of leadership time and resulting in 370 million days lost. Whereas the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) finds that almost 60% of companies using mediation see a significant reduction in formal grievances and a reduction of employment tribunal claims by almost 50%.

Averting the daunting costs of a tribunal is, says Helen Goss, employment solicitor and partner at Boyes Turner, a significant business benefit. “The cost of going to
tribunal is astronomical, not just in terms of legal fees and any award that the court may give, but also in terms of time and energy and loss of business focus.At BT, says Carole Russell, “Over the last four years I have personally conducted just under 500 mediation sessions, with only two that had to be stopped. Previously, any one of them could have ended up in an employment tribunal.”

The experience at BT echoes that of Marks & Spencer. Philip Edwards, Employee Relations Manager at M&S and a keen advocate of mediation and the TCM approach (see box below), says, “When we do a mediation in a region, we suddenly get three or four other referrals from that region because people realise how good it is. I think
anyone who encounters mediation and sees it in action, absolutely understands the benefits.”

At Hertfordshire Constabulary, Julie has also seen mediation help to reduce long-term sickness absence rates. “We got one person back from long-term sick leave, and they would not have come back without mediation. Their fear of facing this other person was a big block to them returning. That is a huge business benefit. In terms of average days lost to manage a grievance, the latest  figures are about 14 days – 9 of which are management days. Compare this to a mediation which takes 4 days  of staff time.” Carole has also seen this at BT. “Without a shadow of a doubt we can demonstrate that this  improves rates of long-term sickness leave... Mediation not only allows employees to feel happier and come back to work, but also instils in people that the best way to  resolve issues is to get them out in the open, sit down and discuss them.”

The TCM approach

The training is enjoyable and relaxed, but there's also a strong business focus...

The-Story-of-TCM

Success in over 93% of Mediation Cases

The mediators at TCM have had success in over 93% of mediation cases and established well over 100 internal mediation schemes in the past 11 years. When talking to clients, the most common thing that crops up is the importance of TCM's partnership approach whereby no request is deemed too hard or too small. Mary Siddall, Senior Legal Advisor at Southampton University, first contracted TCM to train its mediators in 2007 and praises the enthusiasm of the TCM team. “The training is enjoyable and relaxed, but there's also a strong business focus... I think TCM stands out as a specialist in workplace mediation. Workplace mediation requires particular skills and a particular approach and TCM has really established itself as a leading provider in that area.”

David Liddle has not been standing still since establishing a market-leader in workplace mediation. Keen to professionalise the industry and share best practice, he also set up the Professional Mediators’ Association (PMA) in 2007 to deliver CPD and strict practice standards. Now with over 1000 members, the PMA is seeking independent status as a professional body for the industry.

David's work both with TCM and the PMA has attracted plaudits from external observers too. Mike Emmott, CIPD employee relations adviser, says he's “impressed by the way in which TCM has been trying for the last few years to build the market for mediation... one has to say that TCM under David's leadership has played a leading role in that.” Work that is still ongoing, says David. Perhaps influenced by this year's London Olympics, he says “I feel that the last eleven years have been about us walking to the starting blocks. Mediation is now a credible activity in the eyes of many HR directors, but now we need to move from credible to mainstream. My vision is for mediation to become embedded into the systems, processes, structures and cultures of organisations. Of course, it doesn't happen overnight, it's a tough journey. And yes, the longevity of TCM – the expertise, the work we've done over the past decade, means that we are the market leaders – but that just gives us a head-start.”

David has made a series of significant strategic decisions over the past few years. None more so than his decision to employ a team of full time mediators and trainers rather than relying on freelance capacity. “This”, says Rebecca D’Cunha, TCM’s Director of Resolution Services, “has given us the capability to deliver increasingly complex and challenging assignments for our customers. Our speed of response and our expertise give us a real edge in the marketplace”. It’s not always been easy, says David. “We are as affected as any small business by the economic challenges”. However our team ethos, our vision and our unwavering commitment to quality gives us the drive to succeed.

Ever-ambitious, David adds, “My real passion is for mediation to create strong, high-performing relationships, and play a really important part in driving economic  growth in the UK economy in the years ahead.” In a sense, he has come a long way since his days mediating in inner-city Leicester; but in another way, it is exactly those days that still inspire him to take mediation even further still.

TCM Story

bullying-at-work

Bullying in the workplace

The Jekyll and Hyde in your office

Perceived wisdom has it that the only way to stop bullies is to stand up to them….but I tried it and it didn’t work….so if you’ve been the victim of bullying read on.

One of the only good things to come out of my experience is that I am now able to recognise the classic characteristics of a bully, some of which you may be surprised to learn, so read on.

Like many people who’ve been bullied I quit my job…I tried to go through official channels but nobody wanted to address it, even though the person had been accused of bullying twice before. Management had apparently “had a quiet word” and believed it had stopped!

I was just giving them another problem.   It was as much this attitude and the failure of senior management to deal with the situation as it was the behavior of the bully that made me resign.  An organization that fails to tackle such an important issue is often not worth working for.

Firstly, it might be useful to define what bullying is. 

Bullying in the workplace

Bullying is not specifically defined in law as it is not enshrined in legislation, although it can often be part of what is described as discriminatory behaviour.  ACAS defines it as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behavior, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient”.

Harassment is covered by the Equality Act 2010 which defines it as “unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of men and women in the workplace.”  It may be related to age, sex, race, disability, religion, sexual orientation, nationality or any personal characteristic of the individual, and may be a persistent or an isolated incident. The key is that the actions or comments are viewed as demeaning and unacceptable”.

The terms harassment and bullying are often used interchangeably, but I think bullying differs from harassment in that the latter can result from a small number of fairly serious incidents - which everybody recognizes as harassment - whereas bullying tends to be an accumulation of many small incidents over a long period of time. Each incident tends to be trivial, and on its own and out of context does not constitute an offence or grounds for disciplinary or grievance action.

This is what makes it so insidious and difficult to tackle both for the employer and the employee.
What is interesting however is that most workplace bullies share classic character traits. These   can include being charismatic, deceptive, and manipulative.

Recognise these behaviours’?

Charismatic

  • May occupy a role that is important in some way
  • Very self-assured
  • May give off an impression of trustworthiness and reliability

Deceptive

  • Compulsive liar: spontaneously makes things up to fit the needs of the moment Routinely embellishes stories for effect
  • Doesn't listen, can't sustain a meaningful conversation and is hollow, superficial and glib
  • Apparently cannot distinguish between leadership, management and bullying and is oblivious to the difference between how he or she would like to be seen, and how he or she is seen

Manipulative

  • Wants to control everything
  • Projects his or her own shortcomings onto others
  • Threatens dire consequences for people under his or her influence, who think or act for themselves. Threats could be made directly in private, or indirectly in front of witnesses

They are often summed up in the phrase: “a Jekyll & Hyde nature”:

  • Can be innocent and charming some of the time (typically in the presence of witnesses), but vicious and vindictive at other times (typically where there are no witnesses).

Tim Field, the prominent anti-bullying activist estimated that one person in thirty has several of these traits, and he describes these types of people “as aggressive but intelligent individuals who express their aggression psychologically rather than physically”.
It makes fascinating reading doesn’t it?

A major barrier to organizational efficiency and productivity and a major cost to organizations and to economies as a whole

– Head of the Leadership, Work and Organisation’s Department at Middlesex University
Professor, Clive R. Boddy,
What can employers do about it?

Perceived wisdom has it that the only way to stop bullies is to stand up to them….but I tried it and it didn’t work….so if you’ve been the victim of bullying read on.
 
One of the only good things to come out of my experience is that I am now able to recognise the classic characteristics of a bully, some of which you may be surprised to learn, so read on.
 
Like many people who’ve been bullied I quit my job…I tried to go through official channels but nobody wanted to address it, even though the person had been accused of bullying twice before. Management had apparently “had a quiet word” and believed it had stopped!
 
I was just giving them another problem.   It was as much this attitude and the failure of senior management to deal with the situation as it was the behavior of the bully that made me resign.  An organization that fails to tackle such an important issue is often not worth working for.

Firstly, it might be useful to define what bullying is. 

Mediation

It is somewhat ironic; that having been bullied in the workplace I am now a mediator, often working with parties who believe they are the victims of bullying and harassment. As a mediator I’ve heard the phrase, “he/she’s a bully” more times than I care to mention.  It’s a catch all phrase and often difficult to unpack.  But once that is done, parties often see the behavior differently and reach an agreement which enables them to move forward and work together once more.  This is often when the bullying is casual and hasn’t become entrenched – we can all behave badly from time to time afterall.

However, from my experience both as victim and mediator I believe the Jekyll and Hyde characters are out there, classic bullies who act badly time after time and organizations need to tackle them.  It is important not only for an organisation’s credibility; staff retention, health and wellbeing but also for their bottom line.

Bullying in the workplace

top 3 mistakes

Top 3: Mistakes made by managers

1. Not dealing with conflict
Don’t: avoid difficult conversations. At some stage every business has to make tough decisions that may not be popular with everyone.
 
Managers have a habit of hoping an prickly issue or conflict between employees will go away of its own accord. It usually doesn’t.
 
Do: address conflict. Workplace conflict can be challenging, particularly when it involves complex or sensitive issues. However, resolving conflict ultimately saves you time and money. It reduces stress, increases productivity and helps retain employees.
 
Address conflict by attacking the problem, not the person. Focus on what you and others can do to solve the problem, without playing the blame game, and you will soon be able to move on from the conflict together.
 
2. Failure to engage your team
Don’t: underestimate the importance of engaged employees. Through no fault of their own, managers are usually appointed because of their technical ability, rather than their ability to engage and communicate with their team.
 
When employees leave a company, the most common reason is the relationship with their manager. Employees leave managers, not jobs or companies. 
 
Do: encourage workplace engagement. Most employees want to be part of a compelling future. Support employees to express their ideas and perspectives without criticism.
 
Keep them informed on what’s going on and how their jobs contribute to the organisation as a whole.
 
3. Doing it all yourself
Don’t: attempt to solve every problem yourself. Managers often avoid asking for help out of fear that it will be seen as a sign of weakness. 
 
Do: work through problems collaboratively or as a team. Encouraging team members to take responsibility for resolving an issue can be empowering and increase their sense of engagement.
 
If your organisation doesn’t have the skills to resolve issues internally, look outside for help. A little investment in engaging your team and creating a more positive environment can go a long way to improving overall performance and saving money in the future.
 
Of course, these of just some of the challenges managers face. Getting the best out of people can be the one of the biggest challenges an organisation faces, yet seldom is it addressed properly.

If you’re looking to tackle conflict in your organisation, increase engagement in your team or resolve complex issues, get in touch.

For a free consultation to see how our training courses or services could help your organisation, call us today on 0207 404 7011 or email info@thetcmgroup.com to request a call back.

Top 3 Mistakes made by managers

Latest Events

Get in touch with us

Please subscribe to our newsletter and receive free useful information on Mediation and HR support.

s2Member®