Cultivating a symbiotic working relationship between employees and management is vital if the latter wants to foster positive change in the workplace. Fostering positive change is important if the management is interested in continuing to increase the productivity level of their employees. One way that management can work with their staff to create such positive change is to implement an employee advisory board in the workplace. One of the major questions this board needs to ask is whether or not their fellow employees are happy and fulfilled in their jobs. If they’re not, then creating positive change will be more difficult. There are several factors that management should consider when creating an employee advisory board and they will be discussed in this article.
1. Creating Your Objective
If you have decided to create positive change in the workplace by implementing an employee advisory board, you first need to focus on creating your objective. There must be a purpose behind the board. If management does not understand their specific purposes for the board, they will never be able to properly inform the employee advisors what their roles are. For example, if you have been dealing with numerous occasions where individual employees have come to the management with ideas for growth in their department and these concepts have gotten lost in the shuffle, you may want to consider implementing an advisory board. These employee members can become the bridge between management and the staff for suggesting ideas and innovative solutions to issues in the workplace.
Additionally, your objective must encompass how you hope to create positive change in the workplace, which is your main reason for creating such an employee advisory board. Management may sometimes be out of touch with the day to day problems that the employees encounter while completing their work tasks. One of your objectives for this advisory board can be how you propose to create and implement positive change. For example, your staff may be experiencing demotivation because their overtime hours were recently cut due to budget constraints. The employees anticipated working these extra hours so they could receive time and a half in pay. However, they may not realize that management didn’t want to cut the overtime hours to hurt them, but only due to budget cuts. Creating an employee advisory board can help management and the disgruntled workers bridge the gap and find ways to create positive change to increase workplace productivity.
2. Choosing the Perfect Employees
It will be highly important to appoint the right employees to serve on the advisory board. Management must come to a consensus regarding the specific qualities that they are looking for in the employee advisors. For example, employees who exhibit grace under pressure would be perfect for serving on the board. These types of individuals know how to stay calm and focused when dealing with tough workplace issues. Your advisory board needs employees who can handle the tough questions and comments that the other employees will bring to their attention. If management does not choose the right board members, they can end up with more dissension and trouble than when they first started.
Remember that the main objective for even creating the advisory board is to shift towards positivity. For example, you wouldn’t want to pick an individual who has a negative attitude and pessimistic mindset, and who can never think outside the box. Such an individual would not be able to effectively create positive change in the workplace. Instead, focus on finding employees who have demonstrated a keen and consistent ability to come to work each day with a positive perspective, which is validated through productive behavior. This type of employee will make a good addition to the advisory board because he would have experience trying to find positive and productive solutions to seemingly impossible workplace situations.
3. Showing Your Commitment
In order for this employee advisory board to work and cultivate positive results, management must demonstrate to their staff that they are serious about seeing this process through. For example, if management implements this employee advisory board and then does not respond in an effective manner to the suggestions, innovations and concerns that the advisors bring to their attention, all hope of positive change is lost. The employees on the board, who were motivated, will become discouraged and that will have a trickle-down effect to demoralize the entire staff.
Management can show their commitment to the project’s success by appointing one or two key management officers to serve as official advisors to the employee advisory board. For example, these management officers can attend advisory board meetings to show the employee advisors that management is listening and ready to receive their invaluable input regarding ways to create positive change and increased productivity in the workplace. Additionally, these officers can then become key contacts to bring the ideas, suggestions and concerns to the upper management. The entire process needs to be seen as a genuine symbiotic relationship if all parties hope to make changes for the better in the workplace.
4. Implement an Action Plan
The final step in creating this employee advisory board is for management to implement an action plan. If a concise and detailed plan is not put into place -which also includes the specific objectives from step one- then no one will be on the same page and the board won’t be successful. For example, management needs to provide a document that details the action plan so that the employee advisors can review the information. Then the plan can be implemented by them starting to hold meetings. The advisory board also needs to gather pertinent intel from the rest of the staff so that they can properly disseminate the information to their management officers.
In order to effectively gather information, the advisory board will need to ascertain how the rest of the employees feel about various things. For example, in order to create positive change, they need to find out if their fellow coworkers know what is actually expected of them in their daily jobs. They need to ascertain whether or not the coworkers feel that they have the necessary workplace materials and equipment to effectively complete their work. Employee morale is vital to productivity and fostering a positive workplace environment so the board needs to ascertain if the employees have been consistently recognized for their good work. Additionally, the board must find out if their coworkers feel that their personal opinion regarding their job and the workplace environment actually matters to upper management.
More examples of investigative work that the employee advisory board needs to complete are as follows: They must dig deep to listen to fellow employees’ complaints and feelings. For example, has the management provided them ample opportunity for growth and development in their job? Has management spoken individually with all employees each year concerning their progress, such as in an employee review? The advisory board should also ascertain whether or not the employees feel connected to the mission of the company, and if they actually know what that statement is. In order to get a solid feel on how the staff relates well with one another, the advisory board must figure out if everyone gets along, are there are constant conflicts and whether or not the employees have workplace friends. If they have made friends with coworkers that is a good sign as creating positive change will be an easier process.
As a manager, have you considered creating an employee advisory board to create positive change in the workplace? If you’re an employee who is not in management, do you think having an employee advisory board in your workplace would be a catalyst for creating positive change?