Original article by Steven Seiller, Service Alternatives Training Institute (revised 2022 by Elizabeth Kittel, Service Alternatives & RIGHT RESPONSE)
Note: The following are helpful tips to making the most of RIGHT RESPONSE and to prepare agencies for the responsibility of keeping staff certified and safe, while considering the costs of an improperly maintained training program. While RIGHT RESPONSE is always ready to help, there are some things that agencies need to monitor independently to ensure a successful, fiscally responsible training program. We hope this helps!
• Documentation: Without documentation of incidents from staff, you cannot truly assess the extent, danger, and cost of the problems in your classrooms. Be sure every incident is documented with objective and measurable methods, and that staff understand how to properly report incidents.
• Interdepartmental Communication: Many incidents involve staff from different departments, all of whom have different training, expectations, tolerances and techniques for addressing problem behavior and assaults. To maximize time and effort within your organization, ensure that there are common expectations and practices regarding the use of de-escalation techniques.
• Listen to Staff: Denial of problematic issues only allows them to grow, but having an established system of crisis management gives the tools to address problems while they are small.
• Provide Prevention Strategies Before Crisis Begins: The RIGHT RESPONSE approach is focused on prevention; don’t wait until there is an assault to teach staff how to protect themselves in foreseeable situations.
• Monitor for Staff Abuse: Denial of potential abuse by staff not only endangers clients but opens your culpability by omission. To prevent potential staff abuse and to promote quality client support, you must adopt regular strategies for incident review and analysis. Data collection and analysis is critical to this evaluation process.
• Create Goals in Training: While attending a training is the beginning of the journey, the success of your training program is constrained to the goals you set for it. What are your staff looking to learn? What skills are crucial to their success?
• Review the RIGHT RESPONSE Curriculum to Ensure it Meets your District, Local and State Statutes. Organizations all have different requirements, depending on the kind of organization they are. Be sure to review what skills can and cannot be used in your environment.
• Evaluate the Cost of RIGHT RESPONSE: While there is an initial fee to license an internal instructor, RIGHT RESPONSE does not charge a fee to recertify instructors, unlike other de-escalation programs. The implementation of RIGHT RESPONSE comes at a cost, but you are also investing in the safety of your staff and clients.
• What Level of Certification do Staff Need? Staff in different positions may have different needs in terms of tools and training. Providing staff members more training than they need can drain instructors and attendees alike, as well as inundate staff with unnecessary information that can run the risk of neglecting critical parts of the curriculum.
• Provide Sufficient Time for Training: Trainings take time! While scheduling 1-2 day trainings may be logistically challenging, there is no substitute for an instructor-led classroom. RIGHT RESPONSE offers a blended learning experience for our recertification workshops, but our Initial Certification Courses are taught in-person for a critical collaborative experience.
• Create an Implementation Plan: No training program can be effectively implemented unless its content has alignment with the agency’s goals and procedures. Unless administrators actively guide the implementation of training content and reinforce its use, the program is not likely to make an impact beyond the individual efforts of proactive trainees.
• Create a Training Schedule: Attendees are much more likely to become certified, and stay certified, if your organization implements an accessible training schedule that provides multiple attendance opportunities.
• Curriculum Beyond the Classroom: Without reinforcing the material staff learned, training benefits are limited to individual staff memory and ability to recall material. Maximizing your training investment by integrating the training content into your programs will build confidence and mastery. Direct supervisors should be involved in implementing RIGHT RESPONSE beyond training so that staff have the opportunity to grow their skills in their normal duties and activities.
• Ensure Your Instructors are Getting the Teaching Experience They Need: If you license an instructor and they do not teach over the course of their certification period, they will not have the teaching experience needed to move forward as a long-term instructor. Creating an implementation plan or developing a training schedule can eliminate this problem.
• Assess the Cost of Switching to a Different Program: If RIGHT RESPONSE is not the best fit and your agency chooses to go elsewhere for their de-escalation needs, be sure to look at the new program’s recurrent fees, materials costs or charges for recertification. If RIGHT RESPONSE isn’t working the way your agency needs it to, please reach out to us! We would love to help you assess if the curriculum can be presented in a way that is more helpful to your staff.
• Don’t Let Staff Certifications Lapse: Not only does this impact staff who need their certification to perform their job but it takes up precious internal instructor resources. Helping instructors ensure that everyone who signed up for the class arrives on time helps overall agency goals and your cohort of instructors.
• Don’t Forget to Order Workshop Supplies! We ask that you order your workbooks at least two weeks prior to the start of your workshop. Why? If there is any interruption in the mail or problems with inventory, you may either need to pay expedited shipping charges or move your scheduled training.
• Keep Training Documentation Where You Can Easily Find It. Instructors should keep their workshop paperwork for at least five years, and the paperwork contact at your agency should also have copies of the staff’s certificates. RIGHT RESPONSE can help find a certificate if one gets lost, but you as the agency must keep certificates and other workshop paperwork as well.
• Review course evaluations to review what is and what isn’t working for staff and review other suggestions to make the training more valuable to attendees.
• Pay attention to the reactions of course attendees: Depending on how the content is received, staff may have issues shifting mind sets and skills to the philosophies of RIGHT RESPONSE. If staff don’t have a good experience in the workshop, it’s difficult for them to have a good experience using RIGHT RESPONSE skills in the field.
• Look for changes in work behavior: Were you expecting the training to make an immediate difference in the workplace? How long does it take staff to embody the RIGHT RESPONSE with clients?
• Analyze data regarding safety issues: Do your incident reports reflect fewer unsafe scenarios after your staff have taken RIGHT RESPONSE? Do your staff respond with RIGHT RESPONSE skills and tools in escalated situations? If not, what can you do to help staff lean into RIGHT RESPONSE skills?
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It is possible to de-escalate situations that seem to be headed out of control. You just need the right tools. You’ll learn:
- 3 guiding principles of de-escalation
5 surprising findings about conflict
How to optimize your emotional intelligence
So when crises arise you can remain in control, avoid the wrong response, and support anyone, anywhere, with any issue.
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