How we brought HR procedures to life for a leading maintenance firm


This highly successful and rapidly growing Building Maintenance Company wanted its Managers to take a more active part in promoting good practice across HR centred procedures. The HR Director was searching for a way of delivering this training that would engage busy 'task focussed' managers and make them appreciate the value to the business of following correct procedures. It was important to promote a consistent ‘one organisational approach' to areas like selection and appraisal and to prepare managers for a more active role as the business expanded. Managers were largely from a trade background and less comfortable with traditional classroom training. Additionally, HR wanted to build the confidence of these managers to carry out Job Interviews, Appraisals and Disciplinary Interviews with the light support of HR - rather than deep reliance.

She wanted a practical, experiential approach for the training and was recommended to approach React.

What we Designed and Delivered

After consultation we designed and delivered a suite of one day courses aimed at increasing the understanding of the purpose of following best practice and legally correct procedures across a range of HR related areas. Recruitment and Selection, Appraisal Conversations, Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and Respect and Dignity (Inc. Dealing With Bullying and Harassment).

To meet the different needs we used 'worked examples' brought to life by actors. I.e. chronologically following a fictional case study from start to finish and applying policies and skills techniques to address the various stages of the case.

We used a mixture of forum theatre, input and group or individual practice exercises. The aim was to bring to life the HR Policies and procedures - to make them 'come off the page'.

Example - Recruitment & Selection

This course addressed specific problems of poor selection, costly dismissals/ re-selections and claims for unfair selection. The course was 'worked example' case-study based - following an entire process played out over a significant section of the course (e.g. the selection process from job analysis, through job spec, advertising, interview, record keeping, job offer etc). Participants were challenged to manage their way through it, learning as they went. Other roles within the simulation were taken by React Actors improvising around a carefully constructed brief (e.g. mock candidates etc).

The simulation was led by React Facilitators who interspersed elements of input or group discussion around the issues that arose (e.g. choices of selection methods, risks around discrimination law etc). Company policy and procedure were fed in at the relevant point in the process to allow understanding to be on a practical ‘just in time’ basis. Within the simulation there was individual or small group work and opportunities for participants to interact or practice with the characters (e.g. interviews). There were many opportunities for feedback and coaching.

Participants became immersed and fully engaged in the subject. They learnt about the process through experience discovering what they ‘needed to know’ and embedding the necessary input and policy in the context of step by step practical work. The simulation reflected realistic time pressures and decision deadlines of everyday work.


The suite of courses proved immensely popular with managers who enjoyed the practical approach - HR reporting that they are spending less time in ‘fixing’ poor selection, less appeals after disciplinary interviews and fewer incidents and claims of bullying and harassment. Participants report greater understanding of the purpose of appraisal and confidence in leading productive meetings.