Conflicts focus of immigration training

| 12/03/2015 | 11 Comments

(CNS): Staff working on the front line of the Department of Immigration were looking at ways to address conflict with customers this week. As government attempts to improve customer service across the civil service and with major developments at the department, the training was designed to show counter staff how to better handle the difficulties that appear to be inherent in the immigration process.

Cayman News Service

Immigration staff receive customer service training

“This government is determined to make the customer service experience better throughout government,” said Premier Alden McLaughlin, who is, among other jobs, the home affairs minister. “We saw a need in the immigration department and addressed it.”

The one-day session took place on Wednesday and the training programme, led by Julie McLaughlin of Solutions Limited, was based on input from the public and a realisation that team building and workplace mediation was necessary to help the counter staff improve their work environment and productivity.

Officials said the “mission of the day” was to help the employees agree on the problems, “identify the crisis” causing the problem, engage in meaningful dialogue and work to find solutions for it. They were told that conflict occurs when people perceive some kind of threat to their well-being and that while conflict is considered to be bad, it does exist in every aspect of life.

Through team-building exercises, front line and supervisory personnel can learn ways to better manage conflict and create positive change within the workplace setting, officials said. As a result, the training focused on the conflicts that immigration staff say has been hampering their efforts at work.

“I was very excited and motivated to receive the results from the staff team building exercise,” said Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Samantha Bennett. “This was an excellent collaboration of not only addressing the issues at hand, but it was also a great opportunity for them to exchange ideas and provide suggestions for improvement of service, not only to our external customers but also to our internal customers,” she added.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It is a sad day when staff has to be given “conflict resolution” training! Good Lord…..waste and more waste….for any improvement to be seen from this training mgmt will have to actually get up from their desks and do the job their paid for!! 1. Please stop giving different info to the same question
    2. Stop walking up and down and SIT in the chair provided to you by us the public to do your work
    3. Spit out the GUM
    4. Put the cellphones in your bag and leave them there until you get your break or lunch!! (Novel idea)
    5. SMILE at your customer…….we’re not your enemy. We have a query and need the passport stamped
    6. Stop gossiping
    7. Keep at least 4 booths open
    8. Stop taking lunch when its regular lunch for the general public
    9. Encourage public to bring the paperwork they’ve received with them when attending Immigration
    10. Stop disappearing around the corner with the passports and coming back w/o answer
    11. Stop telling customers you’ve lost their applications?
    12. Come prepared to work; it is not a social gathering.
    Think that covers it Ms Bennet…..

  2. Anonymous says:

    I see nothing in the article about how many staff members took part and saw nothing about Immigration being closed to allow significant numbers to attend.
    What I find MOST unusual is the Premier, of all people, commenting on a 1-day training session. Maybe there is some correlation between this and him being satisfied that the matters which came up late last year with senior immigration staff were being handled properly.
    Can you tell us what is happening with those matters Mr Premier since you’re now SUDDENLY on top of immigration runnings?

  3. Anonymous says:

    One of the biggest frustration factor is that conflicting information is given by immigration staff. Depending on who you speak to and the day of the week, you will get different answers for the same question. This obviously frustrates people who have to go through the immigration process. Immigration has to understand that permit issues/delays etc has a direct impact on peoples’ livelihood. Immigration should be able to give consistently the correct answer no matter the time of day or who your daddy is………

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a crock of crap….
    The simple facts are this…most people who visit Immigration are there for simple things such as permit stamps, extensions etc. They understand that front line staff are unable to solve every problem. What upsets the vast majority of customers is the attitude of the staff such as:
    1) staring blankly at a screen
    2) talking on cell phones
    3) getting up, waliking around and seeming to chat idly with other staff
    4) obviously slipping the jacket on and going for a coffee/smoke/ donut break
    5) generally taking their own sweet time to do anything
    6 failing to look like they actually give a toss about the people that pay their wages

    Sort this out and the complaints will drop very quickly

    • Anonymous says:

      You are painting Immigration in too positive a light. A more balanced summary would be:

      1) staring blankly at a screen
      2) eating donuts
      3) talking on cell phones
      4) talking on cell phones while eating donuts
      5) getting up, waliking around and seeming to chat idly with other staff
      6) more donuts
      7) obviously slipping the jacket on and going for a coffee & donut/smoke & donut/ donut & donut break
      8) generally taking their own sweet time to do anything but especially eating donuts
      9) failing to look like they actually give a toss about the people that pay their wages
      10) donuts, donuts, donuts

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is well know fact that the frontline or customer service staff at Immigration and Customs are just high School graduates at the most as well as most of its upper management. There is noting wrong with this but it can be a problem when one becomes frustrated when the opportunity for upward mobility etc, Senior Managers a Immigration are never seen walking about doing check and being seen by staff and customers alike. Here is where Immigration and in general all government departments need to start.

    1/ Prohibit personal cell phones at the work place or station If there is an emergency your family knows where and how to get in touch.

    2/ Stop chewing GUM when dealing with customers , this is nasty and just down right unprofessional.

    3/ Stop talking about what you did last night with co-workers and what HE SAID / SHE SAID GOSSIPING

    4/ At least try to look like you care and enjoy your work . I now that this is hard to do LOL

    5/ Stop talking about what you are doing for lunch at 9am in the morning and making plans for where you are going and who you are going to do when you get off WORK.

    6/ Make a true effort to help and assist people and be nice and MOST Important SMILE 🙂

    I am just saying 6 simple thing to do and thing would improve on both sides of the counter… Trust me on this.

  6. Anonymous says:

    They could start off by treating us like human beings.

    The CIO needs to stop stupid abuses of position like;

    “Your work permit has been approved but I’m not going to stamp your passport until you have another blood test.”

    “Yes you filled in all the forms but we can’t accept them because (make up you’re own excuse – that’s what they do).”

    “We can’t find the paperwork so you have to do it all again.”

    “The application is with (again make up someone) and you’ll have to come back tomorrow.” This one is normally repeated over and over again.

    The bottom line is that over the years immigration officers have seen putting on a uniform as an excuse to push people around – you stop that and things will improve overnight.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The problem stems from top management within the department. Some don’t know how to talk to staff n some don’t know what they’re doing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Has Ossie thought about going to this?

  9. Anonymous says:

    One big issue that needs investigation is some of relationships between immigration officials and owners of some of these employment agencies!

  10. Anonymous says:

    The one thing that immigration needs is oversight! Too much is being done based on who your family is and favors abound for the connections to immigration officials. Too much corruption!

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