Outline case study for B.E.S.T.

This is a case study of OnePlusOne’s delivery of B.E.S.T. to a UK Health Insurance provider; our first ever delivery for a FTSE100 organisation.

Background and context

Progress and development in the field of organisational psychology is proving many conventional workplace practices to be redundant or even harmful – and in need of fresh thinking.

One example is the notion that a good employee can and should be expected to leave personal or emotional troubles outside the workplace. This kind of compartmentalisation is now acknowledged as unrealistic, and instead employers are acknowledging that a more holistic approach is needed for the sake of both wellbeing and productivity of their staff.

Another is the idea that people in management roles are expected, without training, to display the very specialist skills needed for good people-management. Employers and researchers are increasingly acknowledging that these ‘soft skills’ require training and investment.

The case

Operating in 59 Countries with over 161,000 employees and 103 million customers this Health Insurance provider recognises a need to support and train their managers to recognise and respond well to the emotional & relational welfare of their employees. A group of 13 experienced Regional Heads, Regional Managers, were put forward to attend a session of B.E.S.T. training. They had received various training initiatives during their careers but this was a new step.

About OnePlusOne and Brief Encounters Skills Training (B.E.S.T.)

OnePlusOne is a relationship research charity that develops resources to strengthen relationships, help couples and support parents. OnePlusOne applies the latest research to real-life situations and collaborates with people on the front-line.

OnePlusOne has developed Brief Encounters Skills Training – or B.E.S.T. for short – for delivery to companies and organisations around the UK. The aim of B.E.S.T. is to train managers in the appropriate way to approach the personal issues of their employees and, in doing so, to support their organisations’ duty of care and reduce business risk.

B.E.S.T. works on a simple three-step model that teaches managers to:

  1. Recognise the signs of relationship distress at an early stage
  2. Respond using the brief encounters model to help people understand more and find solutions
  3. Review and refer where appropriate


What was the impact?

Improvement in ‘recognise’

Participants stated after the training that they felt “able to recognise when an employee or client is experiencing difficulties with their partner”, 50% of participants reported an increased level of agreement following the training, so that the number of those agreeing and strongly agreeing to this statement by the end was 100%.

Improvement in ‘respond’

After the training, 100% agreed or strongly agreed that they felt “able to handle difficult conversations about an employee’s or client’s relationship with their partner, when it is evident that it is impacting on their lives”. 42% of participants reported an increased level of agreement between the start and end of the training.

Improvement in ‘review and refer’

Participants were asked whether they felt “able to help an employee or client access relationship support services if needed”. After the training 95% of the participants felt able or very able to help employees or clients in this way. 33% of participants reported an increased level of agreement between the start and end of the training.

Satisfaction and intention to use the training

A full 100% of participants reported on their post-workshop questionnaires that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the training. Also 100% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they were likely to use the B.E.S.T.® model to “help have conversations around relationships with employees or clients” in future.

Lessons & reflections

Reflecting on the mentality of the participants, the trainer reported on the professionalism and their openness to engage with the training. From the outset the participants were motivated to be there. They believed they had a duty of care to the staff and clients they interacted with, and they wanted more ‘tools in their toolbox’ to do the best they could in their role.

“The managers were very engaged with the subject and were clearly already skilled and came to the session as highly motivated learners. They were keen to add to their skill set as they acknowledged that they often used their own personal experiences to tackle relationship conversations with team members. It was clear to see how much more confident the managers felt by the end of the session, knowing they were now able to navigate these conversations without feeling like a counsellor but know how to give appropriate support and care.”
Kate Nicolle, B.E.S.T. Trainer, OnePlusOne

The participants themselves readily acknowledged there was currently a culture of ‘don’t bring personal problems to work’ and agreed that this attitude needed to be changed.

“Very informative and interesting, certainly got value out of attending” (Feedback from participants)

The post-training questionnaire showed that training was well received and participants intended to use the skills they had learned. The pre-post assessment scores showed a self-reported improvement in the three key areas of development – ability to Recognise, Respond and Review/Refer when difficulties with relationships arose. Further qualitative feedback also suggested the training was well received.

“The course encouraged delegates to be more aware of the impact they can have on their team. The course was engaging, thought provoking and interesting.”(Feedback from participants)

What next for B.E.S.T?

Preliminary feedback from this case study suggests that B.E.S.T. training can successfully meet its own targets, as well as the aspirational goals of its participants. By continuing with consistent analysis, we can continue to build a more comprehensive, evidence–based, intervention for sustainable change. We will establish whether the training leads to longer-term decreases in presenteeism and improvements in workplace relationships in the longer term.

Further training is planned with more organisations throughout the UK.