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The Resolution Policy

The alternative disciplinary and grievance procedure.

The TCM Resolution Policy™ has been designed to replace, or sit alongside, your existing disciplinary and grievance procedures. The Resolution Policy™ is fully compliant with the Acas Code on Discipline and Grievance and it has been successfully tested in the Employment Tribunal. It is fully legally compliant and it is consistent with the principles of natural justice and fairness. The Resolution Policy™ offers a collaborative and robust system for resolving complaints, grievances and disciplinary issues. It balances the rights of all parties with their underlying interests and their needs. It encourages the constructive resolution of workplace issues, whilst retaining the mechanisms by which an employer can apply formal sanctions including dismissal, in cases which merit it.

“The formal grievance procedure does not have a primary objective of bringing parties together, rather it is there to reach a verdict: usually for one party or the other. In contrast, alternative dispute resolution offers parties the opportunity to find their own solutions within a properly facilitated environment. It is an empowering process and requires ownership of the issues by the individuals.” Victoria Pile, Vice President Head of HR Services at Capgemini

Taking the grief out of grievance

Since its formation in 2001, TCM has been advocating for an increased role for mediation to resolve complex workplace and employment issues.

By the spring of 2013, TCM had been working with organisations for over 12 years trying to promote alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Everyone accepted that mediation and constructive dialogue worked better than the traditional approaches of extensive inaction followed by expensive overreaction. Yet, the biggest barrier that we came up against – time and again, was employees, unions, HR and managers seemingly irrational obsession with the traditional discipline and grievance procedural framework. It was like a great big block to common sense, pragmatism and dialogue. It was a block to resolution. We had tried to work around it, we had tried to work with it and we had tried, without success, to encourage people to stop using it. So we did our homework and we asked people what they really thought. We were told, in no uncertain terms, that the traditional grievance and disciplinary procedures were the most pernicious, most divisive, most harmful, most corrosive and most damaging procedures that existed in the modern workplace. Yet they are documents that no-one talks about. They are rarely, if ever, reviewed, their impact is not measured and they seem to have some kind of mythical aura which means that no one dares to challenge their position in the employee handbook…

…some six years later, the TCM Resolution Policy™ is now embedded in numerous organisations across the UK. These organisations are now enjoying the benefits of a happier, healthier and more harmonious workplace. And no, in case you are wondering, the world did not stop turning and the sky did not fall in when these organisations removed their grievance and disciplinary procedures from their employee handbooks. What happened is that they joined a quiet but irrepressible Resolution Revolution. So could you…

The TCM Resolution Policy

Discipline and Grievance procedures are no longer fit for purpose.

Listed below are just some of the problems with traditional discipline and grievance procedures.

  • They are reactive and are designed to reduce risk rather than resolve problems.
  • They are intrinsically adversarial and they pitch people against each other from the outset.
  • They are initiated with a finger of blame being pointed by one party or another which provokes a defensive response from the person being complained about.
  • They promote and perpetuate the victim/persecutor paradigm.
  • They follow a quasi-judicial model of justice which mirrors the worst of litigation.
  • They are more concerned about facts rather than feelings, evidence rather than exploration, corroboration rather than collaboration, mitigation rather than meaning, rights rather than responsibilities and process rather than people.
  • The use of “informal resolution” clauses or even mediation, which in themselves are positive attempts to resolve disputes, still operate within a formal grievance framework. Where mediation and informal resolution sit within a grievance or disciplinary procedure, they are doomed to failure.
  • The relationship between the protagonists will be irreparably damaged and one or both parties will probably end up leaving the organisation.
  • The fundamental principles of mutual trust, respect and communication will be destroyed. These are the bedrock of good employee relations.
  • The protagonists will experience unreasonably high levels of stress and anxiety.
  • The process will take inordinately longer than it should.
  • Neither party will be happy with the outcome and if one party does ‘win’, it will be, at best, a pyrrhic victory.
  • They encourage parent-child interactions which infantises the workforce.
  • They reinforce the notion that someone else is responsible for the cause of the problem, and someone else is responsible for fixing the problem.
  • The parties don’t have control over the process, or the outcome.
  • They impede creativity and innovation, which are critical to business success and economic growth.
  • Opportunities for organisational learning, personal development and systemic change are impeded or lost.
  • In addition to all of the above, the terms “grievance” and”discipline”  are unhelpful as they conjure up connotations such as grief, blame, hostility, stress, betrayal, loss of control and negativity.

Please let me know if you can think of any others by email: david.liddle@thetcmgroup.com and I’ll gladly add them to the growing list…

The Resolution Policy

Advantages of adopting The TCM Model Resolution Policy™

Promoting  and encouraging positive relationships and constructive dialogue. Here a few benefits of the TCM Resolution Policy™:

  • It links issue resolution with your values and vision, and it promotes positive and constructive behaviours in the workplace.
  • It replaces your existing grievance and disciplinary policies with a single, overarching Resolution Policy™.
  • Employees, employers and unions can work collaboratively and achieve constructive resolutions to disputes and conflicts
  • It develops a conflict resilient workplace and conflict competent management and HR functions.
  • It gives control and responsibility back to your employees and managers.
  • It offers a new name and a new focus for issue resolution.
  • It reduces the amount of time HR professionals and managers spend on grievance or disciplinary case management.
  • It will help your organisation to transition from a “grievance culture” to a “resolution culture”.
  • It includes a comprehensive triage (assessment) process which Human Resources (HR) and Employee Relations (ER) professionals can use to assess the most suitable route to resolution.
  • It is compliant with the Acas disciplinary and grievance code of practice.
  • In more serious disputes and in cases where there is a clear breach of your code of conduct, it offers the opportunity to undertake an investigation and pursue appropriate formal action – up to, and including, dismissal.
  • There is an opportunity to offer mediation at each stage, even where the case has escalated to formal action.
  • It gives greater control and offers greater flexibility to all parties.
  • It supports return to work procedures following absence or suspension.

TCM has worked closely with Lloyds Banking Group to embed an ‘Issues Resolution Framework’ The video opposite explains how Lloyds Bank are saving millions of pounds each year with this new approach.

Disrupting dispute resolution

TCM can help you to embed a Resolution Policy™ which is unique to your organisations vision, values, culture and structure. This section displays a typical process that we recommend:

  1. Develop the business case and secure senior management sign off.
  2. Undertake the TCM Conflict Audit/Resolution Review™
  3. Engage your stakeholders in the design and roll out of your Resolution Policy.
  4. Create a Resolution Policy™ and embed co-operative resolution into other relevant policies and practices as required.
  5. Train HR, unions and managers to spot, prevent and resolve discipline and grievance effectively.
  6. Recruit, select and train a multi-disciplinary team of in-house mediators.
  7. Publicise and communicate your exciting new resolution scheme.
  8. Measure, evaluate and report – accountability and ROI

In some organisations eg Aviva, TCM has established ‘A Resolution Unit’ who are responsible for accepting new cases and identifying and implementing the most appropriate Route To Resolution.

How much does it cost?

TCM’s fee for delivering all of the above, and then some, works out to be less than the cost of defending just one complex employment tribunal! For more details please call us on 0800 294 9787 or complete a short online enquiry form and we’ll call you straight back.

TCM Resolution Policy

We typically only get asked two questions about the Resolution Policy

  1. It is compliant with the Acas code? Yes
  2. Does it work? Yes

Well two is a bit of an understatement but these are the two main questions that we get asked each day. Naturally, we would be delighted to answer any other questions that you may have about any aspect of the TCM Resolution Policy™.

Managing Conflict Masterclasses

TCM runs regular **FREE** half day workshops which you would be very welcomed to attend. These masterclasses provide a detailed overview of the Resolution Policy™ along with numerous worked examples and case studies where it has been implemented. To book onto an upcoming Managing Conflict Masterclass, please click here.

TCM Frequently Asked Questions

Managing Conflict by David Liddle. Available to purchase from AmazonManaging Conflict. A practical guide to resolution in the workplace (Kogan Page/CIPD)

David Liddle’s new book. Managing Conflict (CIPD/Kogan Page), was written specifically for organisations who are considering introducing a Resolution Policy. It includes numerous toolkits and checklists to help you embed a culture of resolution across your organisation. It also includes case studies from Tesco, Arcadia Group, The Metropolitan Police, Capgemini and many, many others.

‘After the Dispute Resolution Regulations (2004) were repealed following my report, it was widely hoped that a system of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) would emerge across the UK. Managing Conflict by David Liddle has highlighted some innovative and highly effective approaches and he has gathered first hand evidence about the powerful and lasting impact of ADR. However, David has also set out some very significant challenges (and some pragmatic solutions) that should be addressed by HR, unions, business leaders and policy makers if we are going to see a real shift in culture and policy regarding the management of conflict at work’. Michael Gibbons CBE, Independent Reviewer of DRR for Secretary of State, DTI, 2007

Available now from Amazon by clicking here

What people say…

It’s very rare to come across someone who is quite so passionate about their area of expertise. David (and the whole TCM team) have been extremely professional, knowledgeable, supportive and not to mention a little patient as we work to implement our mediation scheme in TSB. But that’s not the half of it. What is really striking is David’s absolute belief and commitment that there is a better, more human, way of resolving conflict that benefits everyone from the impacted people to the wider business – it’s completely inspiring and wherever I go in my career from this point, the resolution of conflict is something I will focus on in a way that I never would have in the past.

It’s been a pleasure to work with David and the TCM team and I hope that opportunity will crop up again in the future. His book is an excellent read as well. Jonathan Goodger, former senior ER Manager at TSB

What support do TCM provide?

We can assist you with the integration of your Resolution Policy™ in the following ways:

  • Undertaking all necessary research and stakeholder engagement.
  • Providing templates and relevant documents which support your Resolution Policy
  • Establishing your Resolution Unit and delivering all appropriate training.
  • Training a team of internal mediators and delivering professional mediation services as required.
  • Training managers to resolve issues constructively, confidently, compassionately, courageously and competently.
  • Developing your Resolution case management system – we recommend Apaxio®
  • Providing ongoing support and guidance on your resolution journey

Free Resolution Policy Workshop

If you would like to know more about Resolution, we can visit you to deliver a free ‘Managing Conflict Masterclass’ for up to 16 delegates. During the workshop we will explain how the Resolution Policy works and we will answer any questions that you have. For more information call 0800 294 97 87 or email us here.

Did you know that we also run complimentary mediation and conflict management workshops at The TCM Academy in London? Click here for more details

Ready to talk? We can help

We know that embedding a Resolution Policy™ might feel like a big step to take. TCM is there to help and support every step of the way - we've done this many time. Please contact us for impartial and no obligation advice and guidance.

 0800 294 97 87

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