Talking to Staff!™ | Managing People Training Activity

**NEW PRODUCT! FOR USE IN VIRTUAL & FACE-TO-FACE TRAINING SESSIONS** It's all too easy to let staff problems fester. Managers can often put off meeting with staff because they fear confrontation or the release of emotions. This is nearly always a mistake!

Learning Objectives

  • to be vigilant and quick to identify staff issues
  • to intervene immediately
  • to plan a strategy for meeting with a member of staff
  • to have knowledge of 'critical incidents'
  • to be professional and objective - with emotions under control
  • to ask the right questions and foster a two-way process
  • to monitor and review progress/change

Five-Year Repeat Use Licence

This Northgate training activity comes with a five-year licence for repeat use with up to 24 participants per training session within the licence-holding organisation. Please ask for a discount on multiple licences to use with larger groups or across multiple sites. Also includes access to the Northgate Trainerhub (see below for details).

  • Participants

    3-24 (up to 4 teams of 3-6 per team)

  • Timing

    1 hour + debrief

  • Uses a computer?

    Not required

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  • UK delivery

    (normally next working day)


  • Europe delivery

    (1-2 working days)


  • World delivery

    (1-5 working days)



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The Activity

First teams study the Profile of an employee or colleague (six are supplied for variety). Each briefly describes the individual's background and an 'issue' that is impacting on their work - and affecting the morale etc of others.

The first task is to identify the exact nature of the issue. The profile also gives views from other managers about how they would deal with the situation. These views differ widely and give teams the basis for a lively discussion on the best way forward.

Next, teams work on preparing for a meeting with the 'employee', to address the issue and work towards a prompt resolution. Teams (after 15 minutes) receive a Meeting Planner to help structure their preparation. It asks about:

  • the main issue(s)
  • the tone they will adopt at the meeting
  • the questions they will ask
  • how they will in general terms conduct the meeting
  • how they feel/hope it will go
  • their proposal for the way forward

Next teams work through a set of 30 Statements, considering the type of language to use and scoring each statement (0, 1 or 2) as to how appropriate they think they are. The debrief follows, where teams explain the rationale for their plans and consider the statement scores. Here the learning points emerge. The Trainer's Notes includes a brief commentary on the statements and a Sample Meeting. To conclude participants receive a Key Points Handout. It is worth going through each point and relating it back to the teams' plans.

Trainer's Role

  • Briefly introduce the activity and what will happen. Arrange the group in teams (eg at separate tables or in virtual break-out rooms).
  • If using the online program, send delegate access codes to Team Leaders and allow teams to work through the program (giving guidance on timing at the start). Then bring teams together for the Debrief.
  • If running in a face-to-face setting (or if you prefer to use the PDF files in a virtual setting) issue a Profile Card to each team. After 10 minutes, issue a copy of the Meeting Planner. Then show the 30 Statements and issue the Response Forms and ask teams to rate them (0, 1 or 2) for tone and suitability when talking to staff.
  • When time is up, run the Debrief in plenary. Ask each team in turn how they saw the situation and how they planned to conduct the meeting. How did they feel the meeting would go and what outcome were they aiming for? Go through each statement in turn and discuss team responses.
  • Summarise key learning points that emerge for the Debrief. Issue the Key Points Handout. Optional extra: discuss the Sample Meeting which gives a good example of how to conduct a staff meeting.

Full guidance is supplied in the Trainer’s Notes

Pack Contents

  • Trainer's Notes
  • Optional Program (internet access required)
  • Six Staff Profiles
  • The 30 Statements
  • Meeting Planner
  • Response Form
  • Sample Meeting
  • Key Points Handout

This activity is supplied digitally (both as a set of PDF files and as an optional online program teams can work through together) via the Northgate Trainerhub, for face-to-face and/or virtual training. No delivery charges apply.

Northgate Trainerhub

Benefits of the online Northgate Trainerhub include:

  • Easy-to-access resource library which stores all the digital files for the activity in one place
  • Immediate access to upgrades made to the activity over the five-year licence term
  • Access to an online Trainer Forum where you can post questions, share experiences & network with other Trainers
  • Access to free activities and icebreakers
  • Option to send the program to team leaders digitally via the hub using Team Access Codes
  • Unlimited Trainer logins for all Trainers based at the licence-holding site

Northgate couldn’t be more helpful and always get back to my enquiries incredibly quickly. The activities are highly popular with our staff and have reinvigorated how we do training at Ecclesiastical Insurance.

Sarah Holroyde, Learning & Development Consultant, Ecclesiastical Insurance

Northgate games have saved me a lot of effort - I don't have to talk so much and instead let participants play, which is very helpful for me!

Hazel Sia, Certified Trainer, Comsolutions Sdn Bhd, Malaysia

Thanks for showing us around the new Northgate Trainerhub – I love it! What a great resource for trainers and access to a trainer community to share stuff – a dream!

Karen Canavan, Organisational Learning & Development Manager, Birmingham City University

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