ROLE-PLAYS: The Dreaded Activity

by Oct 4, 2022

Written by: Suzzane Dickman-Perla



I’m Suzz. I recently joined the Civility Partners team a little over a week ago. Prior to that and for the longest time, I managed and trained IT Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) teams all across APAC (Asia Pacific, Greater China, Japan, Korea and India) and EMEAR (Europe, Middle East, Africa).

What has that taught me? Besides sleep being overrated, it has taught me the importance of keeping my teams engaged and compliant. With the dawn of the hybrid work model, ensuring my team’s knowledge and process adherence is up to par has been a challenge. 

Gone were the days where I could walk behind them, listen in on their conversations and provide real-time coaching. Most of the time, I would not know they were non-compliant until a customer complaint came in or I caught it during audit checks. 

This is where I used my training hat and introduced role-plays during my team meetings and 1:1s. What better way to drive engagement and conduct knowledge checks!

But! No one liked role-plays. Every time I would suggest it, there would be a wave of sighs and eye-rolling. Who liked getting in front of their colleagues and opening themselves up to feedback from peers. 

So, after much trial and error, I’ve discovered a couple of ways to make role-plays fun and engaging:

  • Firstly, always have an objective. And be clear about it. Example: Today we are going to do a quick role-play on a new process that has been implemented. The goal is for all of us to be aligned  and that our customers receive the same information regardless of whom they speak to”. This creates an environment of openness and clarity. Always a good thing. 
  • Secondly, repackaging the concept of role-plays. Just like a lot of healthy foods, the outer appearance is usually bland and boring. We walk past not knowing the benefits of consuming it. Same like role-plays! If your team has had bad experiences with it, there is a chance they won’t be as participative. So rebrand! Call it a “Conversation Simulator” or “Pre-Game Process Rehearsal”. Whatever you feel would appeal to your team depending on their culture. 

I could go on and on with different ideas but I would hate to be long-winded on my first blog post. So, if you’d like to have a chat about how we can help your organization, CLICK HERE and we’ll be in touch!

Suzz & The Civility Partners Team 


P.S. A Message From Catherine – 

We are so excited to announce our newest team member, Suzzane (Suzz) Dickman-Perla. She comes to us with 15+ years of experience in learning and development, and will be the project manager for all training clients, including managing contracts, developing and customizing training programs, and delivering training too. 

She is a ton of fun and we are so excited to have her on the team! Check out my interview with her if you’d like to get to know her. 

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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