Case Studies

1. Workplace Interventions & Union/Management Relationships

In a high conflict unionized setting, 100 employees in groups of ten attended the Strengthening Workplace Relationships™ (SWR) workshop. In one year, sick leave was reduced by 22%, which was equivalent to one full-time position or approximately $45,000. Grievances were reduced by one-third (90 grievances) due in part to the employees’ improved conflict resolution skills and the growing conciliatory relationship between union representatives and senior management.

The grievances, valued at a minimum of $5,000.00 each, represented an approximate savings of $450,000. The SWR intervention, which cost less than $100,000.00, contributed to a total net savings of nearly $400,000.00 over a one-year period. In addition, employee morale improved by 63% and their job satisfaction by 17%. Both of these factors are correlated with increased wellness and productivity.

2. Software Private Company

The executive director/owner of a small organization (12 staff) was looking for one day’s worth of entertainment. On the surface (and below), the workplace emotional climate, level of respect and degree of play in this cerebral and creative setting seemed healthy. What emerged during the day was the admission that perhaps management and staff were too laissez–faire in its dealings with customers. In particular, one rather arrogant client, prone to bully behaviour, was chronically late in paying his account. It was a game in which the employee kept asking for new upgrades or favours regarding the original task. The implication was that if the company would do this eaxtra request, then they would be paid. This small company was being held to ransom for a holdout of $25,000.00 which was owed for previous work completed nearly one year previous.

The company became more aware, through roleplaying with the SWR professional actors that blackmail only works if you pay the price. In this case, the price was to keep fixing new problems for free in the hope that the original invoice would be paid. The client game had been uncovered.

“Within 30 days of this workshop, we were able to collect on an outstanding receivable as a result of our newly learned communication skills. This more than paid for the training!”
– Private Small Technology Business Owner

3. Family Business Members Facilitated Discussions

Running a family business is not for the weak-hearted. Raising a family or starting a business is a major challenge. When these two worlds are combined, it can often lead to potential ‘hat’ confusion (boss, brother, co-owner, father, spouse, bro- in-law, CEO, common-law, former spouse, shareholder & child hats) and with it boundary confusion. It is a road fraught with emotional potholes and glacier highs. Sometimes the distance between the two can be terribly long or frightenly short.

Trust and communication are two indispensable commodities that families in business require. A third prerequisite is the ability to settle differences and end any emotional logjam. It is sobering to know that 60-70% of family wealth transfers fail when one or more of these three elements are absent.

The antidote to potential family tensions and unhappiness is equipping members with verbal and behavioural skills to articulate their needs without doing harm to their relatives.

4. Mergers and Acquisitions

“Often, mergers turn out to be just acquisitions”
– Author unknown

It is worth noting that:

  • 90% of all M & A’s fall short of their objectives
  • Less than 33% attained profit goals in a study of 1,000+ companies
  • Less than 50% met expense-reduction goals

The Merger Trap refers to the belief that since we bought you, we now own you and therefore you should do it our way. This manner of thinking may promote conflict, resistance, or passive-aggressive behaviour. It can also sabotage the merger.

The challenge and goal in any merger or acquisition is to integrate the previous work cultures by allowing them to merge and evolve into a new one. A work culture acquired and then ignored seems penny-wise and pound-foolish. If one culture was worth purchasing, then surely, it must be also worth valuing. Unconditional respect, listening and trust will facilitate that integration.

Employee Resistance – Understanding and addressing the source and nature of pushback is what enables any M&A, or any relationship for that matter, to be highly successful.

Intervention Strategy – SWR workshops support newly merged participants to learn to:

  • Expand their avenues of communication
  • Become more aware of each other’s cultural gifts and
  • Learn techniques on how to break up emotional or territorial log jams


In a sample size of nearly 1,000 employees, morale increased from 20% to 50% one month after the workshop. These employees, who represented different industries reported an average of 10% increase in job satisfaction.

Contact us to learn more about our workshops.