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 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
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
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
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)
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.
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
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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.
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
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
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
News & Articles
The Professional Mediation Association held their Annual General Meeting and National Mediation Awards last week at Browns Courtrooms in Covent Garden, London. The awards are held to celebrate and reward success in all aspects in the workplace, employment, business and consumer mediation.
The event was hosted by David Liddle the President of the PMA and Chief Executive of TCM Group.
The event was attended by a number of The PMA corporate members such as The Royal Mail, British Airways, Lloyds Banking Group and Lancaster Hotel. Mediation Professionals such as Small-Claims-Mediation, Mediation in the Workplace were also in attendance and in receipt of awards. It was a great chance for Professional Mediators to come together and network.
During the AGM David Liddle announced that he would be resigning from his position as President come March 2016 and welcomes applications to set up a new board for The PMA.
Peter Monaghan from ACAS gave an informative speech on “Early Conciliation, Productivity and the Workplace”. Peter discussed how nationally we need to do more in terms of employment engagement to ensure that staffs’ well-being is not compromised and that it is “looked-After” which in turn will lead to greater productivity in the workplace.
The speech was followed by The National Mediation Awards and below is the List Of winners and highly commended. The Judging Panel consisted of David Liddle, Dilys Lloyd of Dilys Lloyd Foundation, Yvonne Walsh – Chartered Fellow of CIPD and Sue Higson – HR Advice and Guidance for Halifax Bank PLC.
“As a new, fledgling internal mediation scheme, we are very excited to have been nominated for this prestigious award. I would like to personally thank Jerome for the nomination and his kind words of support. We are absolutely delighted to have won awards in two categories this year and would like to thank TCM for their support and encouragement in developing our integrated mediation service.”– Kate Bell
Founder of Small-claims-mediation.co.uk said “To receive this award means the world to us, the legal profession is brimming with award ceremonies but for mediation sadly not. To be publicly recognised for all our hard work helps spur us on, even when times get tough.”– Joanne Holland
Winning the Value of Mediation Award commented “We feel honoured to have won this award and hope that our video continues to inform others of the potential that mediation offers”– Sarah Crayford Brown
Speaking after the awards, Head of Employee Relations and Industrial Relations for Royal Mail Group, said “The mediators were drawn equally from Royal Mail management and CWU backgrounds in a unique and exciting collaboration. Having established the Mediation service from scratch, the team has successfully delivered over forty Industrial Mediations in its first year. It is wonderful that their success has been recognised by their professional association through both the Presidents Award and the Mediation Team of The Year (Highly Commended) Award”.– Jane Fairhurst
Mediation Scheme Award
WINNER - Lloyds Banking Group
Highly Commended - Leeds City College
For Best Practice in Online Dispute Resolution
WINNER - Joanne Holland, Small-claims-mediation.co.uk
For Demonstrating the Value of Mediation
WINNER- Iain Patterson (Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust )
WINNER - Patricia Zebiri (Royal Free)
For the Independent Mediator of the Year
WINNER - Marissa Puche
Highly Commended - Sue Pearce
Best Article demonstrating the Value of Mediation
WINNER - Jonathan Forrester, Director, Cleaver Fulton Rankin "Mediation"
Best Video demonstrating the Value of Mediation
WINNER - “Conflict Masters” Sarah Crayford Brown and Alison Bennett
Mediation Champion 2015
WINNER - Owen Bubbers, Principal Resolution Adviser at The TCM Group
WINNER - Sarah Crayford Brown
For the Mediation Team of the Year
WINNER - Lloyds Banking Group
Highly Commended – Royal Mail
Rising Star in Mediation (For newly established mediation schemes)
WINNER - Hariette Wolff, Lancaster Hotel
WINNER - UCLAN
Kate Bell, Leeds City College
Thomas Kuevi and the Royal Mail Mediation Team
In an ideal world there would be no such thing as a Settlement Agreement. We just wouldn't have a need for them. All of our working relationships would go smoothly and, if they didn't, any difficulties would be resolved amicably.
Wouldn't that be nice?
Sadly, of course, that’s not the real world we actually live in. Relationships break down, employers and employees find that things aren’t working out. And because of that, Settlement Agreements definitely have their place.
They came into being in 2013 when they replaced Compromise Agreements as a way of formalising the end of an employment relationship with a legally binding contract. They give the employer the ability to have frank conversations with employees about terminating their contracts. Anything that's said in this discussion is protected and can’t be used by either party against the other in an unfair dismissal claim, so long of course as what is said is not discriminatory.
How are Settlement Agreements used?
In the two years since Settlement Agreements came in to being it seems that most companies have had cause to use them. A survey carried out by XpertHR found that 83% of employers had signed one or more settlement agreements over the past 12 months although only 13% said that they “routinely” use them to facilitate employee departures.
The survey also revealed that it is not unusual for employees to initiate an agreement themselves, with almost a third of employers reporting that an employee had proposed a settlement agreement.
But one figure that really jumps out is the reason the agreements are needed at all. An overwhelming 70% reportedly came about because of a relationship breakdown.
The good and bad of Settlement Agreements
So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of these agreements.
On the up side, they allow a conversation and a negotiation to take place between employer and employee which wouldn’t happen if legal action were taking place. In that sense, they are infinitely better than an employment tribunal.
A Settlement Agreement also provides a clean break for both sides. The employee can walk away and find another job, the employer knows the matter is dealt with.
And the agreements provide some flexibility in the labour market by allowing people to leave without the threat of litigation.
On the down side, Settlement Agreements don’t deal with any of the problems the employee has encountered. In my experience, what people dealing with difficulty at work really want is to understand what has happened. They want to be heard and, where they have been unfairly treated, they want recognition of that fact along with an expression of regret.
With a Settlement Agreement they get very little of that. In many cases the employee walks away with nothing more than a piece of paper, a payoff and bad taste.
Just as significant is what the employer is missing out on. When the employee clears his or her desk, they take a lot more than just their pot plant. They are taking their expertise, their knowledge and their goodwill. They are also taking their experience of what went wrong. That’s the knowledge that has the potential to greatly help organisations change and evolve for the better. To learn.
There is the financial cost too. While a Settlement Agreement may be attractive when compared to the cost of litigation, compared to no pay out at all it looks painfully expensive. Many public sector organisations are now trying to stop the use of agreements in anything other than exceptional circumstances because of this cost.
The tens of thousands of pounds paid out in a settlement could be much better spent investing in management training to enable leaders to have the difficult conversations that may well stop things deteriorating in the first place.
Settlements Agreements reduce everything to the lowest common denominator: Money. Everything else is lost.
There is another risk with Settlement Agreements. The XpertHR survey found that 6% of respondents thought their organisation had a tendency to use them to "gag" employees who may have legitimate concerns.
It may be a low level problem but it is a significant one. If an employee is claiming discrimination, for example, and instead of investigating the problem the employer pays off the individual, it means the problem is never being tackled.
That should be a concern for all of us and is a serious risk when agreements are used too liberally.
What are the alternatives?
By far the most popular approach to dealing with problems in the workplace is avoidance, otherwise known as ‘burying your head in the sand’.
Managers look the other way to avoid having to deal with the ‘snot and tears’ of people’s feeling and emotions. Too often they just don’t know how to handle these difficult situations. Settlement Agreements actually fall into this category too. Avoid dealing with the cause, just find a quick solution. Throw some money at the problem and hope it goes away. We wouldn’t do this in any area of our business, why is it OK to do it when it comes to managing people?
Litigation is another option but it won’t come as a surprise to learn that this is probably the worst outcome for all sides. When lawyers get involved, people’s positions harden and they fall out over issues of principle rather than issues of substance. It becomes a fight.
Litigation is costly and damaging to reputations and should be avoided whenever possible.
There is another alternative: mediation.
Mediation involves both sides communicating to find outcomes based on their mutual interests and needs. It is relatively cheap and it repairs relationships. Time and time again I have seen working relationships, thought to be beyond repair, put back on track.
Mediation encourages both sides to find their own solutions to problems. It encourages innovation and compromise and very often means everyone ends up staying at the organisation.
By dealing with problems early on, employers can do a great deal to stop things getting to the point where Settlement Agreements are needed at all. And with the survey suggesting 70% of Settlement Agreements resulted from relationship breakdown it is clear that mediation could save working relationships at the same time as savings huge amounts of money.
It’s never too late
Finally, if anyone doubts the benefits of mediation, consider this: Even if a mediator is only brought in right at the end of the process, when negotiations over a Settlement Agreement are already underway, both sides can still benefit.
If the employee can gain and explanation of what has gone wrong. some much-needed understanding of the situation and, if appropriate, an apology, they are often willing to accept a significantly lower payoff. Yes, a little bit of humility can actually improve the P&L
Mediate and both sides are better off.
David Liddle is the Founder and CEO of The TCM Group. His greatest passion is mediation and his greatest strength is people. He has over 20 years experience of mediating in some of the most complex disputes imaginable. With a team of world class resolution consultants, TCM are the UKs leading provider of mediation and conflict management services, training and consultancy.
As one of my clients recently said to me: on every level and at every stage, mediation makes sense.
With the start of the Rugby World Cup, sporting ads are everywhere.
I was on my way to a mediation session recently, when my eye was drawn to a poster in Euston Station that declared, “The Secret to Winning? Team work.”
Of course, when it comes to rugby, teamwork is essential. But it’s also true of all human interaction. An understanding that we are all team players to some extent seems obvious, but is often forgotten when people get into unhealthy conflicts.
It got me thinking that what is true for rugby is almost always true for life in general.
So what lessons can we learn from it? Well we’ve had one already:
1. Don’t do it alone.
Side by side and hand in hand, remember to stand together.
Another slogan I have seen used by rugby teams is “The Best-Laid Plans? Ours”. This reminds us that success is not passive. To have good relationships takes work and planning. In so many of the mediations I have been involved with, the heart of the conflict is misunderstanding borne out of poor workforce planning.
2. Time invested in planning and thinking about how people will interact is never wasted.
Take your time, think a lot, so everyone will still be here tomorrow.
The win by Scotland on the 29th August was described as a win in “peacetime rugby”. The big question: will they be able to continue winning under the pressure of the World Cup? We’ll soon find out, but we do know that if the basics aren’t there, beating any team will be problematic. Two wins will not make Scotland the world champions but an ongoing commitment to hard work and improving on the basics will help them on their way.
3. Make sure the organisational climate is embedded so people can still continue to function when times get rough.
When the times get tough, the team keeps going.
It has been noted that Rugby Union is a “game for hooligans, played by gentleman”. I would suggest that remaining gentlemanly, even in the face of great challenges, is something we should all strive to do. If everyone treated others with respect at all times in the workplace, the level of unhealthy conflict would be very much reduced.
4. Treat everyone with respect.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, don’t find out how much the lack of it means to people.
Another important part of teamwork is encouraging opinions to be expressed and then respecting decisions when they have been made. Chris Robshaw and Nigel Owens showed the way to have a respectful airing of views in the Six Nations this year. All Owen need to say was “Christopher, thank you “, and both knew where they stood.
5. Respect each other’s opinions and then respect decisions when they have been made.
Make sure people know you have heard them calling but also make sure they give respect to you.
Dovetailing with this view of the game is the fact that Barbarians RFC was set up at least in part to spread good fellowship. Having a stated aim of fellowship is not likely to be possible for all organisations – but for those that can, how healthy and happy they would be!
6. If people are happy, unhealthy conflict is less likely.
A climate in which everyone feels warmly towards each other makes it less likely that tomorrow the sun won’t shine.
With the average weight of a professional rugby player moving towards 15 stone, when players collide it is like being in a traffic accident. Players need to know how to hit each other the right way. All conflicts need to be handled and managed to prevent things going wrong.
7. Conflict will happen but does not need to leave lasting pain if handled correctly.
A badly managed conflict will increase the risk that things will go wrong and one or both may soon be gone.
The pack of a rugby union team is, at the heart of it, 8 people physically bound together for a common purpose. This is a combined physical and mental connection, founded on trust. As a hooker, if the scrum goes down you are going down too. This is often the case in work too.
8. If there is trust between people they will not get in to unhealthy conflict.
An environment where people know they can lean on each other and help each other carry on will lead to less conflict occurring.
As in rugby, so in life: United we stand, divided we fall.
Giles Macnair is a Dispute Resolution Consultant at The TCM Group, widely regarded as one of the UK's foremost provider of business, employment and workplace mediation services.
As in rugby, so in life: United we stand, divided we fall.