Conference for the Association of Social Pedagogues:
Winner of the Best Participant Engagement at the Danish Events and Meetings Award 2017 (DEMA17)
Social workers are more exposed to workplace violence than any other professional group – including all sorts of physical violence, sometimes even resulting in death. One of the elements that can help prevent and combat violence is a high level of professionalism. And it gets way easier to keep the unity flag flying high at each workplace if the manager, the health and safety representative and the union representative (also known as the trio) all work together on this issue.
The Association of Social Pedagogues invited 500 work environment representatives, union representatives and managers to a conference held in Herning Congress Centre. PLUS Agency was responsible for planning and organizing the entire event.
The day started with and audio narrative – a story about a suburban area social worker whose boundaries were continuously being pushed. Eventually, it all got too much to handle…
Conference objectives were sky-high:
– Participants needed new knowledge about the relationship between work environment and professionalism, as well as a firsthand understanding of what it genuinely means.
– The TRIO collaboration at each workplace was to be strengthened.
– And last but not least, participants needed a forum for networking and exchanging experiences.
The core of the conference was our participatory concept Fairground – a kind of professional race task full of dialogue and reflections. In addition, the day was spiced up with a series of plenary sessions packed with reflective presentations, interviews with practitioners, as well as the 3-chapter audiobook.
More precisely, the Fairground consisted of a total of 90 stations. Each station offered a task that could be solved in 10-20 minutes. Participants were free to decide how long they wanted to spend on each task.
Participants were grouped into teams of 6: they were both with their own trio but also paired with a trio from another workplace
We had developed a cutting-edge process design and a set of materials for each task that helped participants stay focused and fully engaged in order to reflect, share experiences, stay action-oriented, and take-home new ideas.
Some tasks included idea catalogues to pick from, and others had checklists to assess different initiatives in a workplace.
Some were based on professional dilemmas from the audiobook story, while others provided an opportunity to make specific agreements about new approaches.
Some tasks helped to prioritize roles within the trio, while others provided opportunities for introspection. Movies, forum theatre, quizzes, polls and much, much more were also included.
An IT system developed by ourselves kept track of where the groups had been and which stations were available. It allowed groups to decide how long they wanted to spend on each task. And once they reported ready for a new one – they could see on a big screen in the hall which station they should move on to.
The system’s algorithm was designed to allocate different-themed tasks to each group, ensuring that all groups experienced variety in both form and content.
Afterwards, all the tasks with materials were posted on the association’s website, so that participants could pick from the catalogue and go through relevant tasks with their colleagues at home.
95% of the conference participants said that the conference had inspired them to develop the work environment and focus on professionalism. Especially Fairground got an abundance of positive feedback from all.
– ”Fairground is one of the most fantastic and useful experiences I’ve ever had in a conference.”
– ”Faiground was exceptional. EVERYONE participated actively and there were great conversations and reflections. .”
– ”This could easily have been a 2-day conference without me getting bored a single time :-)”
– ”Particularly Fairground was extremely good, because there was something very concrete to bring back home.”
– ”During Fairground, time flew by! We would have liked to work on more activities. They were good, and I liked that we had to take decisions on concrete actions on future initiatives in your workplace.”
– ”Fairground was extremely well organized. Great variation in the activities and solutions (standing, sitting, speaking, being actionable etc.). It seemed extremely planned and well thought through extremely thorough. The highlight of the day, without a doubt.”