Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) recognised that certain engrained behaviours and language embedded in an established culture were adversely affecting relationships between and within teams in the Facilities Management department.
This in turn impacted on morale, performance and productivity, culminating in a negative influence on the service provided to customers. CCCU recognised the urgent need to promote the University’s Dignity at Work Policy, Staff Code of Conduct and Wellbeing agenda, as well as the need to provide support to managers and team leaders in managing staff performance and behaviour.
The Director of Estates and Facilities at CCCU appointed us to develop a bespoke Equality and Diversity programme to tackle a range of issues and to support their ongoing leadership and management development programme.
The wider remit was to develop and deliver a programme that would engage staff from an extensive range of disciplines in an interactive way, with the focus on problem-solving. We would concentrate on
- improving and developing the understanding of Equality and Diversity in the workplace with the onus on recognising and valuing difference in staff and students
- building stronger, more effective teams promoting multi team working and embracing shared values
- improving communication across the board at every level
- building confidence at manager level to address issues relating to inappropriate and poor behaviour
We stimulated a culture change that embraced equality and diversity across the university leading to improved performance and efficiency.
Working in close partnership with CCCU, we firstly carried out extensive research via observations, focus groups, one-to-ones and attendance at department meetings. We then designed and delivered highly interactive training programmes, tailored for each department and faculty, involving actors presenting real situations from across the Department. CCCU recognised this powerful methodology was more likely to have a lasting and memorable impact, compared to a “chalk-and-talk” approach. We also developed a sustainability plan, to ensure the learning was embedding and the equality and diversity agenda became part of the University’s fabric when moving forward.
- All 350 staff members attended including directors
- Feedback from word of mouth sold the sessions
- 98% of staff across the organisation rated their attendance as the best development training they have attended
- Development of a raft of actions, including the development of a ‘Voice Group’ to improve two way communication on issues, concerns and ideas; and a shadowing programme for the management team
The key to the effectiveness of this campaign was how CCCU planned to sustain the learning and develop further. With this is mind, we recommended putting in place steering groups to support strategy development, a shadowing programme so that staff and managers could shadow different teams thus promoting a joined-up approach and ongoing staff development opportunities to permanently embed concepts and provide the necessary support and leadership skills.
“I promised the Estates and Facilities Team that they would have a very different, informative, fun and interactive session and asked people to go with it. It was also about the work place environment, how we communicate and connect with everyone that they come into contact with. It would also help the department to achieve greater success and that the views from staff were very important in taking forward the future Estates and Facilities Strategy. A great experience for us all and we will continue working together in this collaborative way”.
Lee Soden – Former, Director of Facilities Management