Innovative Training Approaches to Conflict and Violence Reduction

Work related violence is a complex risk area due to its dynamic and often unpredictable nature. Risks are influenced by many variables including the role, activities performed, working environment and the nature of interactions with customers and service users.

Complex problems need sophisticated strategies and safe outcomes will rarely be achieved through a single control measure such as training. Training can however make a big difference when done well and as part of a multi element strategy that addresses the root causes of conflict – not just how we react to it.

Time to prioritise

Not only is violence a complex risk to manage, employers have less resources and budget to invest in control measures, including staff training. We can therefore either cut back on training, or rethink the model and be creative in getting more from our budget. As with other health and safety matters we can start by prioritising needs based on risk and focus our resources accordingly.

Training in conflict management and personal safety is traditionally delivered through a face-to-face course based approach, which although well suited to 'soft skills' development, can be costly in terms of delivery and abstraction. A 'sheep dip' approach that puts everyone through a one day generic course is a luxury employers can no longer afford and one that rarely meets the diverse needs within an organisation. It can result in some staff getting more training than they need and some not enough.

Blended learning

By embracing a wider range of delivery mechanisms staff can induct and refresh knowledge through elearning and/or locally delivered awareness modules, with those at higher risk also attending focused training courses.

Blended learning approaches can include:

Increasing access to desktop and mobile computing extends learning possibilities and Learning Management Systems allow us to monitor and record compliance. These are not only for big organisations, the possibilities have increased dramatically for individuals and smaller employers, such as shopkeepers, who can now access low cost, high quality conflict management elearning and guidance through web based systems. They can also use traditional ‘tool box’ training methods like the ‘A’ Frame Flipover presentations which remain popular.

Delivering Value

Designed well, a blended learning strategy will not simply deliver savings it will provide more flexibility to respond to learning needs, locally. Positive line manager involvement will help ensure learning translates into safer working practices, which is where we should measure the true value of training - not through the end of course 'happy sheet'.

For learning to deliver operational outcomes it must combine proactive (preventative) and reactive strategies and be:

Fit for Purpose: Directly relevant to risks & role needs and requirements

Delivered as intended: Highest quality accessible resources, professionally delivered

Transferred to the workplace: Transfer supported and monitored by line managers

Maintained: Refreshed, rehearsed and evaluated to embed into practise

Staff in some roles and services may also need physical skills, whether for their personal safety, or to manage the behaviour of others in an emergency scenario, which may include restraint. Practical skills such as these require carefully managed face to face training and structured practice led by local coaches or ‘champions’ in the workplace, as psychomotor skills quickly fade. Such skills carry heightened risks and we need to monitor and reduce their operational use i.e. not just teach safer methods.

Scenario based learning

An effective risk assessment and training needs analysis must involve staff and should identify key risk scenarios which are immensely valuable within training. These ensure direct relevance to the job and a clearer understanding of what is expected of staff in a foreseeable risk situation.

Staff walk through and problem solve a scenario as opposed to ‘role playing’ it.

Case studies are also excellent vehicles to develop understanding and both methods can be used within eLearning as well as face to face training.

Scenario learning should continue in the workplace where it allows staff to rehearse and test understanding, for example of incident management procedures.

When forced to think outside the box we can often come up with new approaches that facilitate better workplace outcomes.


Click here to learn more about Maybo's approach to blended learning, or contact us to find out how we can help you deliver effective conflict management training to your staff within your operational and financial constraints.




Posted by Maybo on July 27, 2018