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Employee Envolvement Training

Topical Discussion: Employee Involvement Program and Rational Use

By: Malcolm J. Stubblefield

If set-up and used correctly, employee involvement programs can stimulate rewards for both the organization and its employees.  With employee satisfaction serving as a vital link to motivation, allowing employees to participate in the decision making process that directly affect them, and allowing them to enjoy some measure of autonomy in the performance of their jobs, will, no doubt, heighten employee levels of commitment to the organization.  However, the bottom line rests with follow-through and the commitment on the part of management to stick with the established plan.  While a good idea at the on-set, all too often, many employment involvement programs fall to the waste side due to a couple of primary reasons: (a) management is not fully committed to the program from the start, or (b) employees are not adequately trained to implement and maintain a long-term program.


Following are several L.E.A.D. recommended employee involvement programs that, if implemented and utilized correctly, can help improve management-employee relations and, in the long-run, organizational best practices.


Participative Management is an ideal practice in that management and competent employees share in the decision-making process.  I say ideal to imply that a scenario encompassing management and subordinates working in unison, for the collective good of the organization, can certainly promote ‘feel good’ emotions from competent employees whose jobs have a directly linked to areas under review.  For that matter, such emotions could certainly lead to increased motivation and job satisfaction on the part of everyone involved.  However, for PM to work effectively, management must recognize the contribution subordinates can make, and be willing to admit that they (management) do not have the answers to all questions surrounding the effective attainment of organizational goals.


Quality Circles, for all intent and purposes, is a good concept in that employees are divided into work teams and allowed to develop strategy for addressing and resolving quality issues.  To be effective, these working teams must be given the time to analyze and solve problems.  Moreover, management must be committed, not only in principle, but in a demonstrated manner toward accepting and implementing QC recommendations. Many organizations have attempted to use the QC concept.  However, if management is committed to a top-down hierarchical leadership style such efforts are, in principle, a good idea but are seldom implementable.  All too often, members of the OC team are second guessed by management and within a short period in time lose their enthusiasm.


Representative Participation can be very political in that participants are handpicked by organization leaders.  Even when representatives are voted-in or mandated to serve as a representative on a board of directors or on an advisory board or a sub-committee or to represent a union, etc., on many occasions some of those individuals have been known to lose sight of their initial purpose: that is, to serve as a designated representative.  They often begin to look more like management and less like a representative to management.


Employ Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP) allows employees to obtain ongoing information about the performance of the organization due to their participative stock ownership in the firm.  While they do not share in the day-to-day decision making process, employees who participate in ESOP do have opportunities to voice their opinions.  In this case, some participation is better then none at all.  Moreover, this type of employee involvement certainly establishes the degree to which management is committed to a participatory process.