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Recreational Services: Enforcing Policy & Managing Conflict
As a Rec Services staff member, you will be asked to enforce policies and procedures designed to benefit the majority of program users. At times, the benefits of the policy may not be readily apparent to a patron. The patron may simply be concerned with getting a workout and doesn’t see what is wrong with what they are doing, e.g., banging weights together, dropping dumbbells, etc. If handled tactfully, the communication can be positive and effective. Here are some steps that should help:
A. Be courteous and keep the conversation between yourself and the patron.
B. Identify yourself as a staff member. “Hi. My name is
C.Make your request. “When you’re doing your workout, can you be careful not to bang the weights together?”
D.Explain why. “The weights loosen and we can’t adjust them.” “It breaks the handles.”
E. Thank them. “Thanks for helping us out.”
Our goal is to serve the largest number of students by providing services and meeting their recreation needs. If a patron’s conduct interferes, they need to adjust. We need to let them know that an adjustment is needed and why. E.g., dangerous to others, offending other people, etc. BUT, we need to be tactful, respectful, and courteous while we’re doing it. Sometimes this is hard, but it’s crucial that we succeed.
If there is an issue, and our staff has maintained their cool, treated the person involved with respect, and tried their best to solve the problem, that’s all we can ask. I can back the staff member up 100%. If the staff member blows their cool and says something in the heat of the moment, it gives the person ammunition and takes the focus away from the issue. Never let it get personal.
We also don’t want to say in response to a question of a policy, “That’s just the policy, so you gotta do it.” It usually helps to explain why that is the policy.
Person doesn’t respond to your request
There are times where we may need to get assistance from Public Safety. For example, you have spoken to someone in the gym who is not a student and who snuck in.
A. Ask to see their I.D.
B. Let them know that they must be a student to use the facility.
C. At this point, some will leave. Others will need it clearly defined what they need to do. Example: If you’re not a student, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to leave.
D. Watch them as they leave. Often times, people will try to steal a ball or something else on the way out.
E. If they refuse to leave, ask again. Explain to them that you will need to call Public Safety if they refuse to leave, and that makes things more difficult.
F. Never put yourself in a dangerous situation. If they refuse to leave and you’ve warned them about Public Safety, and they refuse to leave, call Public Safety and monitor the individuals, but stay a distance away.
G. Take note of what the individuals are wearing and what they look like.
Don’t Agree with a Policy?
What if you, as a staff member, don’t agree with a policy? That happens to everyone from time to time. In your role as a staff member, it is your responsibility to enforce it. You might want to ask the Director for a clarification as to why the policy is there so you understand it better.