Practical Consultation – Changes to Contracts

This practical course informs the actions and the skills needed to deliver win-win outcomes during consultation and negotiation on changes to employment contracts.

Appreciating the benefits for all parties of reaching agreement for changes to contracts, pay, benefits, terms and conditions of employment this course helps inform the actions and develop the skills needed to deliver win-win outcomes during consultation and negotiation.

The course provides an overview of the law and good practice as it relates changes to contracts, benefits, terms and conditions of employment. Building on this it explores the benefits of agreeing, rather than enforcing changes and the steps that help agreement to be reached.

There are a wide range of situations when employers may need to change terms and conditions of employment and the related contracts.  In most situations these demand employers consult with the workforce.  How employers consult with employees will differ, depending on the organisation and the issue or changes the employer wants to consult on. Employers may wish to consult via recognised trade unions, officially recognised employee representation forums or directly with employees.  This course can be tailored to the prevailing local situation.

For whom
This course is designed for all those who are involved in or party to changes to contracts, terms and conditions of employment.  It is especially suitable for employee representatives and those leading on the consultation.


  1. Workforce Fears, Concerns and Worries
    Fears and worries, often ill founded, can hinder effective consultation. This session highlights typical workforce fears and concerns, enabling those involved in the consultation address them better.

    This session can also be delivered in a more consultative manner to capture and feedback on the fears and worries of the participants’ and the people they represent.

  1. Role and Responsibilities of The Employee Representative during Consultation (Optional)
    When there is no formal union or employee representation within the organisation; representatives may be appointed on a short-term basis to represent the workforce during a specific consolation. This session is for them.

    This session can be removed when the training is delivered for experienced employee representatives.

  • Role and Duties of Employee Representatives
  • Structure of role/position ie how/where does it sit in organisations
  • The Importance of Professionalism
  • Representing views of workforce not personal opinion
  • Cascading information
  • Gathering Views of workforce
  • Feeding Back view of workforce
  1. Situations where changes to contracts, terms and conditions may apply
    Changes to workplace terms and conditions are common, this session explores the typical reasons behind them, the benefits they bring and in doing so helps allay fears and concerns
  • Changes to Business Strategy and Direction
  • Organisational Standards and Expectations
  • New workplace policies, procedures and protocols
    • Mandatory requirements
    • Expected best practice
    • Organisational changes

When the drivers and background behind the pending changes are known these can be dovetailed into this session.

  1. When and why consult
  • Consultation v Negotiation – ACAS
  • The Benefits of Consultation and reaching agreement
  • Who to consult, when and why
  • Risks associated with enforced changes
  • The importance of achieving agreement and Win-Win outcomes
  1. Reaching Agreement Hints and Tips
    Session three explore the approaches and techniques that can help achieve agreement
  • Explaining the need
  • Asking for feedback
  • Making adjustments
  • Managing and Tracking the Process, including timescales and cascading information
  • The importance of Negotiation and Influencing Skills
  • Final decisions including enforced changes
  1. The Consequences of a Failure to Agree
  • Enforced Change – often allowed within existing contracts
  • Temporary Loss of goodwill
  • Working under protest
  • Grievance = tribunal
  • County Court
  1. Post Agreement/Implementation
  • Checking understanding
  • Monitoring and Assessing Impact

8. Skills Awareness – Hints and Tips
Consulting and Negotiating on changes to contracts, pay, benefits, terms and conditions will, for many, involve a very different set of activities and skills sets. This session is designed to provide a range of highly practical hints and tips covering the most common needs.  Content can be tailored to the needs of individual clients and participants.

A. Self-Awareness

  • Managing personal assumptions and own prejudices
  • Objective v Subjective judgements

B. Communication

  • active listening
  • observational skills
  • different questioning techniques:
  • closed, open,
  • supplementary, probing, hypothetical
  • body language: posture, gestures, tone, voice, use of words

C. Influencing

  • Assertive – Aggressive – Passive – Passive/Aggressive Behaviour
  • Six techniques to deal with difficult situations

D. Negotiation

  • The five key stages in any negotiation situation
  • planning your approach in meetings
  • knowing how and when to intervene

E. Meetings
Hints and tips on how to perform best during meetings

F. Reporting Back and Public Speaking
This combines the foregoing skills and other fresh topics around the theme of public Speaking


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