University of Sheffield
The University of Sheffield’s HR department, to be attended by both academic and non-academic staff.
We all dread those yearly performance reviews, don’t we? Have I met my targets from last year? Come to think of it, what were my targets from last year? It’s the anticipation, the build-up to that once a year meeting that everyone hates.
The thing is everyone has one, so they must be important, right? What are the right reasons for having the reviews and how can we make them better? The University of Sheffield’s Human Resources department wanted to show that the Staff Review and Development Scheme isn’t something to fear, it is a positive thing designed to enhance personal and organisational development. They also wanted constructive feedback on the entire process so the University turned to Dead Earnest to help them out.
If there’s a worse thought than your SRDS, it is the thought of an afternoon of SRDS training. It was important for us at Dead Earnest to dispel the myths and scepticism that surrounds the entire subject and help the audience of around 70 people see how the process can really help them and their colleagues develop. By creating a Forum Theatre piece the entire audience of reviewers, reviewees, academic and non-academic staff could identify with, we teased out the issues one by one.
From reticence about the meetings themselves, to issues regarding timing them, even down to the perceived problems and reservations about the scoring system used, the audience had a chance to observe and then participate in a full room discussion about any matter they had thought about previously, or anything that had been thrown up through the performances. Different solutions could be tried with the actors on stage as the delegates delved deeply into how to continually improve the staff review process. This was their chance to fully discuss the issues that mattered to them and it was also an opportunity for members of the HR department to gather valuable feedback from a range of staff members on the entire process.
And some feedback?
“I’ve seen loads of videos on this sort of thing before and I guess you can always pause a video but what really helped was the chance to interact. It was great to hear other people talk about the issues and get lots of different perspectives.” Delegate
“Normally these sorts of things just descend into slanging matches but with your facilitating, staying neutral and keeping it moving, we actually had a chance to come up with some positive ideas.” Delegate