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As you tirelessly manage your organization and task your experts to lead and execute on achieving the company goals; there is a way to simultaneously increase engagement and solve problems… it’s involving your employees! This is not a recommendation to have employees sit at the leadership table, but rather a recommendation to increase involvement and cultivate engagement amongst your employees, while achieving company goals through upward problem solving.
There are plenty of times when a leader knows best; but there are also times when there is a disconnect between leadership goals and the front-line reality. Having the right employees involved with the right processes will help with a smooth execution of goals, deliveries, deadlines, and buy-in from all staff. Employee involvement can help increase productivity, reduce risks, lower costs, stabilize, and improve morale and job satisfaction. The way to involve your employees is through employee-centered committees. Employee committees are groups of employees who want to participate in problem solving and sharing ideas to achieve a common company goal.
A few ideas to get your people involved and achieve goals are through the following committees: safety, interviewing, engagement, on-boarding, training, research, and more. Start by determining which processes within the organization could use a boost; more energy and attention in hopes of improving collaboration and cross-department communication. Establish an employee committee specific to the area that you wish you to improve. An example of an employee committee is the safety committee. In the state of Oregon, there are requirements for having a safety committee, so in addition to meeting compliance requirements; you can also cultivate engagement amongst your employees to ensure safety is taken seriously which limits costs, reduces risks, and creates a healthy work environment for all.
If you are struggling with the retention of your employees, invite existing employees interested in participating in the hiring process to join an interview committee. The responsibilities of the interview committee are to assist with the interview processes for both new hires and for internal promotions. Having a solid interview committee will lead to better hiring and on-boarding practices, ensure the right energy and personality fit matches the needs of the department and the team, and eases the stress of interviewing through a collaborative effort of actively engaging your interview committee to hire the best candidate for the job.
One thing to keep in mind is that you can have many committees of employees to help problem solve, drive efficiencies, positivity, and create a solid culture of engagement. Importantly, you must also ensure that committees are set up for success. First, define what the desired outcomes should be achieved by the committee, (i.e., reduce turnover, improve safety, improve efficiencies, etc.). Inform the committee of the logistics of being a committee member, (i.e., how often they should meet, where, when, and for how long), what skills or knowledge they should have to be a viable candidate for the committee, and how long they can expect their committee commitment to last, (i.e., one-year, etc.).
Next, provide training, resources, and the support needed for the committee to be a success. This means that if you have a safety committee or an interview committee, those committee members should be versed in basic employment law to avoid risk to the organization. For example, you would want to entrust your interview committee to interview a candidate without accidentally asking questions that are not appropriate and thus putting the company at risk for a discrimination claim. To avoid this, simply ensure committee members are given on-going training, resources to help them be successful in the committee, and a leader whom they can rely on for support along the way.
With the proper planning and execution of a committee, you may notice over time the value that those committee members bring to the organization’s goals. Not only could there be success at problem solving and improving processes; you may also notice that employees want to be a part of something bigger. Employees work there too, so it’s only natural that they may want to contribute to the success of the organization and to be a part of something great.
So, as you continue your planning efforts around company goals and strategy, make sure you think about how you can achieve company goals by including your employees to be a part of the experience. Locate your problem areas and derive a committee of employees to help solve the problems and propose solutions and ideas to achieve success. Setup the committee correctly, provide training and support, and ensure the committee can remain viable and effective. The reward may positively impact your organization in more ways than you ever thought possible.
Here are a few helpful resources to assist with forming a safety, interview, or engagement committee:
Heather Wall is the director of Human Resources at Brightways Counseling Group. She has 15 years in the HR profession, a master’s degree in management, SHRM-CP, certified strategic HR business partner, certified in strategic workforce planning and a certified human capital strategist. Residing in Central Oregon for the last two years, Wall has worked with several small to mid-size business throughout the state of Oregon, Washington and California as a business partner focusing on building HR infrastructure and balancing compliance and culture within the workplace. In addition to her HR work, Wall volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Deschutes County, serving as an advocate for children in foster care. She resides in Sisters with her husband and two sons. In her spare time, she enjoys doing puzzles, playing in the snow and water (depending on the season), exploring new restaurants and spending time with friends and family.
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