Spelling out factors considered in implementing policies helps to prevent or dispel an opinion that management decisions are arbitrary and unfair.
Management-employee relations are strengthened when employees are consulted in decisions affecting them. Many organizations find it useful to establish a structured forum to encourage open communication between managers and employees on issues. This can take the form of a committee with representatives from both employees and management, facilitated team-building or staff meetings set aside for a specific issue. A briefing on the issue(s) should be distributed to participants in advance so employees can begin considering ideas prior to the meeting.
Forums should concentrate on analyzing and developing recommendations to resolve work-related problems and enhancing organizational effectiveness. Realizing that some employees may initially be reticent to participate in discussions with management, managers must demonstrate that: 1) they value employee involvement in work-related issues; 2) there will not be negative repercussions for introducing a concern or suggestion; and 3) ideas will be appreciated and seriously considered as a means to improve the workplace. Responses should be made quickly to let employees know what management thinks. Honesty regarding inability to implement a suggestion or improvement is recommended.
Potential areas for discussion are:
- Equipment and other resource needs;
- How tasks are structured;
- How to improve the quality of services and work products;
- Internet usage;
- Methods used to determine assignments, work performance standards, shift and overtime assignments, priority of leave requests, promotions and other personnel management practices;
- Morale problems;
- Process redundancy;
- Training needs;
- Use of technology; and
- Workplace safety issues.