Case Study: ParkRite Conflict Management Training
ICSE conflict management having been providing conflict management and personal safety training to ParkRite since 2014. In that time we have seen some amazing results in employee safety. Below is a case study on our partnership with ParkRite which shows that a commitment to training and safety and an effective working relationship can yield great results for your employees.
Park Rite are one of Ireland’s leading traffic management and parking specialists with a diverse client base including retailers, financial institutions, private investors, hospitals, local authorities, the GAA and the Catholic Church. As well as being a leading operator of private car parking services they also provide traffic flow management and parking enforcement teams to a number of local authorities. One of these Local Authorities is Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council for whom Park Rite have been the parking enforcement contractor since 2011.
Working in the world of parking enforcement can be a challenging and thankless role that is carried out daily by the men and women of Park Rite on the streets of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown. The nature of the role they must carry out brings them into contact with the public throughout the day. They meet and interact professionally and cordiallywith hundreds of residents, business owners and customers in the local area on a daily basis. Unfortunately some of these interactions can also lead to instances where the wardens are subjected to abuse, threats and even violent assaults.
The parking enforcement team in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown consists of 24 parking wardens whose main role is to monitor the pay and display parking regulations in place in the area. In 2014 in during the course of their role these people where abused threatened on an almost daily basis including 40 incidents where they have been physically attacked. These assaults varied between being pushed and spat at to being punched, kicked and even attacked with weapons. There are very few other sectors where this level of incidents would be tolerated let alone accepted. Dealing with this level of conflict on a daily basis requires these professionals to possess a range of skills to effectively manage these incidents and get them home safely to their families.
These types of incident can have a major effect on both the people involved and the organisation. Being verbally abused or threatened can have profound on long lasting effects on both the individual as well as their family and friends who often reside in the local area and witness this type of behaviour towards their loved ones. It doesn’t just effect personal safety it effects quality of life also. All of this is in addition the physical injuries suffered in some of the more violent incidents. On an organisational level this make the delivery of the expected level of service quite a challenge as well as posing indirect threats in the form of staff morale issues, staff absence and labour turnover.
In 2014 the Alan Mannix, Shared Services Manager with Park Rite contacted ICSE conflict management with a view to designing and delivering a bespoke conflict management and personal safety program for the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown parking enforcement team. This programme had 2 primary business goals:
- To significantly reduce the number of physical assaults against the parking enforcement team
- To make the workplace a safer place for the parking enforcement team
ICSE Conflict Management specialise in the delivery of personal safety training to staff who operate in front-line positions. We have many years of experience across a variety of sectors in making employees safer. The one thing that this experience has taught us is that no two sectors are the same and this programme would have to a one of a kind design with the issues and concerns of the parking enforcement team at its core.
At our first meeting with Alan Mannix we set out 2 key performance metrics:
- Significantly reduce the number of assaults on the parking enforcement team.
- Increase the warden’s ability to manage lower level conflicts therefore reducing the number of overall incidents and complaints.
Delivering on these performance metrics would also have the indirect result of providing financial cost savings in areas such as staff absence and labour turnover. With our experience and track record in delivering this type of training ICSE conflict management were confident we could deliver on both fronts.
Our first task was to design a learning needs analysis to gather the initial data we required to begin designing the programme. This was conducted using our workplace risk survey which we carried out with all members of the team. We met with the team individually and as small groups to gather their thoughts. These meetings built a trust between our training team and the wardens and showed them that we had a genuine interest in their safety. This allowed us to collect information on the day to day risks faced by staff as well as their perceived training needs. Once we gathered and collated this information we met with the team supervisors to discuss how the perceived training needs of the employees merged with the business policies of the company. Equipped with all of this information we set about designing the programme.
Our programme design was based around the results of the learning needs analysis, international best practice in this area and our own training team’s experience of what works in other sectors. We developed a programme based around the following learning outcomes:
- Recognising the initial signs of conflict
- Reducing personal risk in conflict situations
- Calming and defusing techniques
- Situational awareness
- Personal safety in high risk conflict
What was obvious to our training team from our initial meeting was that this could not be a traditional theory and lecture based programme. These people were working on the front line and often on their own, dealing with high risk conflict and the training needed to reflect this. The course that was delivered had to be interactive, enjoyable and most of all had to have immediate practical applications for the team in order for them to get the desired benefit. We used scenario based learning, role play and video review to re-enforce the underpinning knowledge and transfer that knowledge to practical approaches during the training. This ensured that the retention of learning was maximised.
In addition to this the team were a diverse group of people with varying levels of experience and background and a wide variety of pre-existing strategies for managing conflict that had been built up over time spent on the front line. Our training team recognised this level of training and ability existing within the team and facilitated this during the training. We took what the team already knew and used and enhanced it with underpinning knowledge and used them as problem solving techniques during the scenarios. This increased the value of what we were delivering because the team recognised their own experiences worked in harmony with the training material.
At the end of the training we conducted evaluation surveys with the team to gauge their reaction to the training and the level of retention of the material. Some of the responses are listed below
“ Really enjoyed the course, I can use everything we covered on a daily basis”
JC – Warden DLR
“The training gave me a completely new perspective on keeping myself safe at work”.
GM Warden Supervisor DLR
“Very relevant and very interactive. All wardens should have to complete this course before going to work”
AD – Warden
In the almost 17 months since the training has been rolled out we have returned annually to carry our short refresher training to keep the teams skills current and update them with international best practice and current trends across other sectors. In that time the overall number of overall physical assaults has reduced by 50%. The overall number of incidents involving serious threats also reduced by 37% reduction. These reductions have not impacted on the warden’s safety at work but also their work life quality.
Since the roll-out of this training we have delivered this training to all ParkRite parking enforcement teams across its client base. We have worked in partnership with other areas of the ParkRite business in reducing conflict and risk including the telephone call centre employees and the car park management teams.
The success of this programme has led to ICSE Conflict Management and ParkRite being nominated for the Best Consultancy Partnership Award at the IITD National Training Awards 2016
For more information on how ICSE Conflict Management team can support you in keeping your employees safe call us today on 091-534918.