Professional HR: a performance improvement workshop


This unique two-day workshop programme is focused on helping HR teams achieve new levels of peak performance. It uses a framework based on the four inter-locking strands of high-performance HR:

  • Core skills of HR
  • Legal requirements
  • Best practice
  • Organisational policies and procedures

The precise content of the programme varies, according to current levels of HR performance in your organisation and any particular issues of concern, but the object is always the same: to enhance the participants’ mastery of the core skills of HR, to ensure that they have an up-to-date knowledge of employment law and to facilitate a review of organisational policies and procedures to appropriate standards of best practice. This workshop-led approach is an ideal method for identifying the steps needed to bring all members of the HR team up to the same level of peak performance.

Learning objectives

This programme will help participants to:

  • Understand the complexity of the role within HR and identify specific challenges
  • Understand their contribution to the HR function and to organisational objectives
  • Recognise the essential core HR skills, their own strengths and development areas
  • Develop assertive behaviour
  • Recognise the power to influence, and plan an even more effective strategy
  • Manage conflict constructively
  • Employ a structured approach when coaching others
  • Manage themselves, their time and their meetings effectively
  • Use the core skills of HR flexibly in ‘difficult’ or ‘sensitive’ situations
  • Communicate more effectively in group settings and in 1:1 situations
  • Understand the overall legal framework of employment law
  • Appreciate the importance of employment status
  • Avoid and defend cases of unlawful discrimination
  • Manage short- and long-term absence lawfully
  • Ensure that the organisation is not unnecessarily exposed to claims for unfair dismissal
  • Implement disciplinary procedures fairly and lawfully


This performance improvement workshop delivers most benefit when the entire HR team takes part.


A highly inter-active two-day workshop, with a strong emphasis on practical exercises.

Special feature

The outline on the next page is an example of the type of programme we can construct and deliver. The content, duration, objectives and material used can all be tailored to suit your specific needs. Either day can be run on its own if preferred.

Expert trainer

This programme is delivered by Rachel Hicks, our lead trainer in this area. See her profile here.


See what participants have said about our ‘Professional HR’ workshops:

‘It really made me think and challenge my view / approach.’

‘Very good rounded approach with relevant tools and approaches.’

‘You will learn a lot about yourself and others!!’

‘‘One stop shop of information of HR techniques.’

‘Very interesting and enlightening.’

‘Ideal confidence booster.’

‘Good insight to different aspects of HR.’

‘Very engaging trainer.’

‘An interesting and thought provoking session.’

‘Brings to life the behaviours and makes you think about your approach to various HR activities.’

‘Very well prepared, organised, approachable. Natural style and engaging. Thought-provoking.’

‘Great relaxed style, open, allowed the discussion to go where it needed to go.’

Workshop outline

Note: this is a purely indicative outline, subject to change in the light of (a) developments in employment law and (b) your organisation’s policies and procedures.

Day one

1 Introduction and course objectives

2 The role of HR

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Your customers. Customer satisfaction.
  • Challenges of the role
  • The contribution of the HR function to organisational objectives

3 Core skills of an effective HR advisor

  • Communication skills
  • Assertiveness
  • Influencing skills
  • Managing conflict
  • Coaching skills
  • Management of self and time
  • Other key skills and behaviours

4 Identifying individual strengths and weaknesses

  • Self-assessment diagnostic

5 Communication skills

  • Enhancing our impact at work through good communication
  • Understanding the communication process and its flaws
  • Checking for understanding and avoiding assumptions
  • How we communicate. Verbal and non-verbal communication.
  • The importance of communicating congruently
  • Exercise: effective questioning and listening skills
  • Enhancing your communication skills

6 Assertiveness

  • Recognising different types of behaviour
  • Understanding what assertiveness is and the benefits of behaving assertively
  • Barriers to acting assertively
  • The link between our beliefs and our behaviour. The self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Challenging beliefs and acting assertively
  • Planning an assertive and confident approach
  • Responding assertively in challenging situations
  • Application to participants’ own situations

7 Influencing skills

  • Understanding influence and persuasion
  • Identifying who influences us and how we are influenced
  • Identifying sources of power and how to use these effectively and appropriately
  • Influencing styles. Participants’ preferred style.
  • Exercise: flexing your style
  • Preparation and planning your approach. A checklist.
  • Putting it into practice
  • Application to participants’ own situations

8 Managing conflict

  • Exploring conflict and why it is inevitable
  • Recognising how we perceive conflict. Reframing conflict.
  • Types and sources of conflict at work
  • Five typical responses to conflict. Participants’ typical responses.
  • How to select the best response
  • Strategies to resolve conflict
  • Exercise: A conflict tool
  • Application to participants’ own situations

9 Coaching

  • Defining coaching
  • Recognising the benefits of a coaching approach
  • What coaching involves
  • A structured approach to coaching. GROW model.
  • Opportunities to coach

10 Management of self and time

  • Understanding how well you use your time
  • Identifying key priorities and planning how you use your time
  • Top tips on time management
  • Effective meetings

11 Putting it into practice

  • Action planning

Day two

1 The legal framework

  • The UK legal system and employee rights
  • Employment status
  • The contract of employment – express and implied terms
  • Dismissal and redundancy
  • Enforcement of rights through the courts
  • Employment law quiz on discrimination and other topical issues

2 Working with representatives

  • Experience of working with union / employee representatives
  • Rights, roles and responsibilities
  • Informal and formal involvement
  • Challenging issues

3 Discipline

  • Conduct vcapability
  • Purpose of taking disciplinary action
  • Statutory requirements and ACAS Code of Practice
  • Managing conduct issues informally
  • Formal stages in line with your disciplinary procedure
  • Assessing risk and determining appropriate action. Acting fairly and consistently. Scenarios.
  • Your role and responsibility
  • Legal implications and case law
  • Group exercise: Fair or unfair dismissals?

4 Grievances

  • Understanding what constitutes a grievance
  • ACAS Code of Practice
  • Resolving issues informally
  • Managing grievances formally
  • Your role and responsibility
  • Legal implications
  • Challenging situations

5 Absence

  • Impact of absence. Managing absence v individual support.
  • Your health capability procedure. Informal and formal stages.
  • Managing short-term and long-term absence
  • Your role and responsibility
  • Understanding the law in relation to disability
  • Stress, mental health and other challenging issues
  • Other legal implications and case law

6 Bullying, discrimination and harassment

  • Diversity, dignity at work and discrimination
  • Harassment, bullying and working with respect
  • Managing informally and taking formal action
  • Assessing risk and determining appropriate action. Acting fairly / consistently.
  • Your role and responsibility
  • Legal implications and case law

7 Flexible working and ‘family friendly’ policies (optional)

  • An update on ‘family friendly’ policies, including shared parental leave

8 And finally…

  • Open forum
  • Legislative changes on the horizon
  • Action planning

For a no-obligation discussion about running this programme for your organisation on an in-house basis, just give us a call on 01582 463462.