We’ve worked with Helena over a few years now on a range of training, so they decided to focus our work on their Customer Service Centre (CSC), a large, new department, made up of four previously disparate areas. We used a staff survey and other engagement exercises – including Appreciative Inquiry – to identify issues, with the aim of understanding staff concerns, engaging and inspiring them, and providing tools and techniques for better management, communication and feedback, to improve attendance, efficiency and effectiveness.


We’ve worked with Helena several times now, on safeguarding and management training. They know how we work, and decided to use our methodology and process to develop their organisation, its people and its customer service. Their Customer Service Centre (CSC) is large, new, and made up of four previously disparate areas. Helena’s staff survey and other engagement exercises identified issues about how staff were feeling in relation to major changes that had taken place within the organisation. To address important issues around staff satisfaction and communication, Helena needed to move beyond traditional presentations to find ways of inspiring a dedicated staff team that needed to feel valued.

The aims

Sheila Traskowskie, Helena’s Learning and Development manager, says: ‘We’ve worked with AFTA Thought on several occasions with successful and positive results, so we approaching them to deliver a bespoke, half-day session for the whole CSC team, covering behaviours, performance and relationships in the workplace. Our aims were to:

  • Understand the issues and concerns across the CSC
  • Provide an insight into the issues to the rest of the CSC to raise self and team awareness
  • Engage with and inspire the team
  • Provide tools and techniques for staff and managers to better engage with each other, like giving and receiving feedback, managing change and taking responsibility
  • Improve the culture and workplace environment for everyone in the CSC, improving attendance, efficiency and effectiveness and therefore service delivery’.

What we did

We used Appreciative Inquiry, a strengthbased approach, to facilitate conversations that really got to the heart of the issues. We held one-to-one sessions with 24 staff to gauge their perceptions, and their feedback was used to develop scenarios with interactive discussions to draw out observations and individual learning.

The outcomes

‘Feedback was excellent, with staff still talking about some of the concepts – like ‘in the moment feedback’ – today and the training has given the team a deeper understanding of what’s expected,’ says Sheila. ‘The investment also gave the team a sense of recognition they had been listened to and we are delivering training in more thought-provoking ways.’

‘Down to earth and a realistic presentation’

‘Eye-opening to see situations that may actually be happening. Makes you think out of the box…’

‘Very well researched, which made it real’

‘Fast moving, informative and thoughtprovoking’

‘The amount of research that goes into these sessions – like welfare reforms and housing issues – is very impressive’

‘Inspirational and energised’

‘The “in-the-moment” feedback was excellent…’

‘Reinforced a positive culture within Helena Partnerships’

‘Made me realise how important teamwork is and being supportive’

  • Related training
  • Safeguarding
  • Customer excellence