Staff representatives at CRUK act as volunteer support for colleagues during difficult and emotionally charged disciplinary or resolution meetings eg. those covering misconduct, early retirement, sexual harassment and final warnings.
Staff Forums and Reps Manager Dick Boulton wanted to create a training and development day to give a flavour of what this type of meeting can be like to increase the reps’ experience of what to expect without increasing their fear. Whether they are dealing with someone accused of theft or under threat of redundancy, understanding that people don’t all behave the same way is fundamental for the reps to be able to do their job properly.
Partners With You designed a bespoke programme which included a piece of forum theatre followed by the opportunity to ask the characters what made them behave as they did – a great opportunity for the newer reps to learn from the more experienced team.
“We chose Partners With You because they listened to our needs, understood our requirements and were exceedingly professional” said Dick Boulton. “Their unique warm up exercises were excellent and the team of six actors put everyone at their ease from the off”.
Two role-plays were also created where the delegates and actors were split into three groups. Each group played out the same scenarios with their particular actors so that everyone got a chance to practice and could compare notes at the end of the different outcomes.
“The Partners With You team had a really firm grasp of what was required” added Dick “I was really impressed with how much preparation work they’d done, which made a huge difference. Now I’m an advocate of forum theatre and role play!”
Dick concludes, “I’ve run the course again as I’ve had so many reps telling me how useful and practical they found the sessions. It’s really helped our newer reps deal more confidently with any difficult situations and the older hands have got a new viewpoint to work from. I would really recommend using Partners With You to work out the best way of getting your team to communicate successfully whatever the situation.”