An Interact management development workshop comprises captivating practical interventions such as bespoke dramas, breakout practice sessions and facilitated reflective exercises.
Our approach is designed to respond to individuals’ development needs. While one manager could benefit from developing a stronger rapport with a team, another’s key challenge may be delivering difficult feedback. Our approach enables each participant to practise and develop skills that will make a significant difference to his or her capability as a manager.
Our highly trained actors are able to play back the signature characteristics of the way people express themselves. This unique skill allows participants to experience for themselves how they come across to others.
Board members of Acas wanted to create a new diversity policy. In order to create a policy that was relevant and specific to the organisation, Acas contracted Interact provide a truly creative solution.
Interact has broad and deep experience of working with organisations wanting to bring diversity awareness to the fore. Whilst a general diversity policy that is detailed, all-encompassing and legally compliant has its merits, in order for any policy to be truly relevant, meaningful and therefore embraced by its staff, one needs to ensure that it is firmly rooted in how behaviours are demonstrated in three-dimensional, human form.
Interact’s response to the brief was to design a workshop in order for Acas board members and regional managers to design and write the policy. This was not a writing workshop, but instead an experience whereby Interact brought a range of its expertly-trained actors to bring to life the range of behaviours and communication that the policy was to address. The actors delivered a series of scenarios, vignettes and monologues that brought alive all the aspects of diversity at Acas, and by doing so, the Acas board members and managers had a clear picture of what the new diversity policy should address. Not only that, but following this, the board members and managers devised their own scenarios that clearly demonstrated how diversity should be at Acas, thus further cementing the tenets of the new policy. Taking those devised scenes as a springboard, Interact’s designers and writers created an entertaining and impactful roadshow to promote engagement with the new policy.
By using actors to help in the creation of the new policy, then demonstrating to staff the themes in a three-dimensional human form, Acas was successful in ensuring its new policy became intrinsic to its culture, and not only yet another policy document.
BERR (now BEIS)
BERR required a series of one-day events for 500 key leaders, 30 participants at a time. The events needed to address essential knowledge, skills and behaviours that senior leaders require to ensure fairness and equality. Diversity, equal opportunity and human rights are a priority agenda issue for this population who need to understanding the impact of decisions, behaviours and communication with regard to these areas.
Interact designed and delivered a highly participative workshop on diversity that focused on leadership behaviours and communication skills. The programme was supported by interactive electronic resource materials. The course focused on taking accountability and responsibility of diversity issues in service delivery, policy making and people management, leading by example, managing difficult conversations and equality in recruitment.
90% of respondents reported that their learning needs had been ‘fully met’ or ‘mostly met’
89% stated that they now felt able to demonstrate an understanding of the BERR diversity strategy to a great extent.
Over 90% of respondents believed that they were either confident or very confident they could actively challenge and address inappropriate policy, practice or behaviour.
72% were able to quote things that they had done differently as a result of the learning.
The London Borough of Newham has the most diverse population in the United Kingdom.
At Newham Homes, the Borough Council’s arms-length management organisation, its tenants’ ethnic origins span a wide diverse range of backgrounds, hence, Newham Homes tenants have a wide range of differing needs in terms of customer service.
Interact was contracted by Newham Homes to design and deliver a series of hard-hitting engagement events for 500 of the organisation’s staff in such departments as maintenance and repair, housing offices, call centres and property surveyors. The overarching objective was for staff to fully understand that in order to provide great service to all tenants, they would need to flex their service style to suit the full range of diversities, from as simply as being aware of different religious holidays and traditions, to recognising and understanding the impact of nuances in verbal and non-verbal communication.
Interact’s innovative approach to working with prevalent attitudes and beliefs underpinned the design for the awareness-raising events. Interact’s in-house team of designers created a highly impactful and engaging half-day event that addressed the salient customer-service issues at Newham Homes. Interact’s writers conducted a series of face-to-face and telephone interviews with a broad cross-section of front-line staff, as well as speaking to Newham Homes customers, the tenants. The data, Newham Homes’ office anecdotes and real-life customer-service stories were used as the basis from which the writers crafted the poignant scripts and scenarios for the training.
The customer-service events proved to be the lighted touchpaper from which Newham Homes staff and customers could fully address the prevalent issues, not only in attitude, behaviour and communication in customer service, but also in policy, thus ensuring the beginning of a process of change leading to the establishment of a culture of continuous improvement.