TCM Group’s award-winning work with Burberry proves that a humane approach to conflict is essential

TCM and Burberry win Personnel Today HR Impact Award 2023

“Forward-thinking global brands such as Burberry are rejecting litigation-inspired HR models and embracing a more humanising approach to conflict and complaint management,” commented David Liddle, CEO of the TCM Group.

His remarks came as the TCM Group and Burberry were announced as winners of The Personnel Today HR Impact Award for 2023. Representatives from both organisations were presented with the award for their work in encouraging a culture of speaking up at the luxury brand, so that conflict and complaints are now resolved quickly.

Empowering colleagues to speak up at Burberry

In 2022 Burberry, working with the TCM Group, conducted an audit of its team climate, systems and policies, identifying a number of key areas for improvement: upskilling HR and leaders in conflict management; reviewing policies and steps to resolution; a need for a confidential whistleblowing helpline only used for the most serious issues; and alignment of investigations processes so they were globally consistent.

The company adopted TCM’s Resolution Framework™ which is designed to act as an end-to-end system for resolving workplace issues. As part of this, they established a Burberry Resolution Hub as a central online location to support managers and colleagues as they navigate through conflicts and complaints at work.

As a result of the collaboration between TCM and Burberry, colleagues now feel more empowered to speak up, and there has been an increase in issues being resolved without the need for recourse to a formal procedure. The number of issues raised through the confidential whistleblowing line has also decreased. Sixty HR business partners and employee relations colleagues have attended resolution workshops globally and more are planned for the coming year.

Traditional grievance procedures are flawed

David Liddle continues: “This award win is not just a testament to the fact that our messages and our services at TCM have credibility with some of the world’s leading organisations, but also a signal to the HR industry that it needs to step up to change the way conflict management is handled.”

“From the outset of our collaboration, Burberry rightly recognised that outdated grievance procedures were flawed, only providing an illusion of justice and a mirage of compassion. The traditional HR policy framework is a direct driver of stress, harm, fear, and dysfunction. The policy framework impedes creativity, it undermines individual and organisational performance, it destroys trust, and it diminishes the value of the entire HR function.”

“An over-arching Resolution Framework has helped Burberry move away from these traditional disciplinary and grievance procedures offering an alternative, people-centred, compassionate and more humane approach, while also allowing recourse to formal sanctions in the cases where these are appropriate.”

“2024 will be the year for HR to claim its rightful place as one of the most important functions within our organisations. However, this can only be done if organisations are willing to take risks and remove bureaucratic barriers themselves – just as Burberry have done.”

Claire Salter, Global Strategic ER/HR leader at Burberry added: “In partnership with The TCM Group, our HR team has been recognised for its efforts to foster a culture where we can openly speak up in a way that demonstrates our Leadership Standards, improves creativity, and achieves positive, lasting outcomes. This award acknowledges the innovation demonstrated by our alternative approach to the grievance process, the Steps to Resolution Framework, and our Resolution Hub.

I am hugely proud of this accomplishment which spotlights a HR team that has embraced change and has demonstrated creativity and flexibility.”

Featured Photo by Wan San Yip on Unsplash.

Latest articles


Related articles