The Problem: Reduce Conflict
Due to new software, conflict within several departments increased. Executives wanted employees to take more responsibility in how to effectively process customer information using new software in the Meter Reading Department. During the beta test of the new software program for Meter Readers tension and increased conflict was observed by ComEd managers and Executives. The small beta test group exhibited increased work-related stress, increased strained working relationships, increased medical leave absences, and increased conflict with managers and peers. Managers and Executives were concerned that daily operations would be jeopardized during the rollout of the change initiative.
Change is always difficult. The new software program would save the company thousands of dollars. The question was how to implement a new change initiative without the increased tension and conflict?
Executives wanted the “change training” to increase peer-to-peer communication, increase spontaneous problem solving, reduce conflict among groups (union employees and non-union management), and help employees transition into utilizing a new work practice.
Deanne DeMarco, a communication specialist, and RCC business coach was asked to tackle the problem. As a part of the “change training” all Meter Reading personnel received, Deanne implemented the “Coaching Clinic” to all employees – union and management.
Deanne designed the Coaching Clinic and is fully customized and replicates job requirements and interpersonal interactions among job classifications. The Coaching Clinic design utilizes Socratic experiential research models. The first day of the two-day coaching program included one day of coaching skills and techniques. The second day was all hands-on training using specifically designed scenarios for the employees. Each employee received a different scenario to role play with trained actors.
The success of the program exceeded all expectations. The program was able to reduce conflict by 85% within the first week after the training.
The Coaching Clinic’s 2-day design exceeded all expectations. The clinic model was used successfully to improve supervisors’ skill sets in coaching and communicating with employees. Union level employees learned to communicate more effectively with peers Managers and Executives were surprised at how quickly union level employees were able to utilize coaching concepts back on the job. The Coaching Clinic increased communication and decreased conflict immediately. For the first time, a change initiative was implemented smoothly, without the conflict that typically goes hand in hand with change.