As we work with businesses that have award-winning team culture, one of the keys to this is continual feedback on where the culture of the business is going. After all, you can’t know if you’re winning the game if you don’t know the score. This continual feedback leading to a stellar team culture is the secret sauce in keeping your great employees on board for the long haul with excellent productivity. We all know the challenge in finding, recruiting, and hiring new team members, and even rock stars are always marketing to new individuals.
One way to get continual feedback from your team is to start an Employee Council. This council meets once a week, once every other week, or once a month to brainstorm ideas on how to make the company an inviting, engaging place to work. The employee council’s opinions are extremely valuable and can give you the insight that you need from a diverse cross-section of your employee population. Here are some considerations when forming an employee council:
WHO IS PART OF THE COUNCIL?
The number one most important thing when forming an employee council is the members that are on it. What we often see is that the employee council is made up of all of the leadership team’s favorite employees: the ones with the stellar attitude, who rarely disagree with the vision of the company, and are all around “yes” people. The watch out here is if you’ve got all people that look the same, act the same, and have similar personalities, then the true problems will never be solved. It’s just like hiring a coach: if you’ve got someone who can’t tell you the honest truth about where you’ve got shortfalls in your company, then you are never going to progress. Diversity is the key. Whether that diversity is age, gender, race, personality type, introvert/extrovert, tenure, or job title, having a mix of different people are going to be the most productive, just like your company.
HOW DO YOU SELECT YOUR COUNCIL?
If you tell the team that you are going to form an Employee Council, then immediately all of the driver, high-performing personality folks are going to apply. The extroverts who are always first to raise their hands are naturally going to be the ones that raise their hands for this. We like having an application process, where employees can apply on their own, but also leaders who have team members who take a bit of a back seat in meetings can ask specific people to apply.
After collecting applications, we suggest reviewing them for the following things:
- Great attitude
- They want to learn & grow personally
- They embrace the vision of the company
- They’re willing to champion change
- They’re willing to be honest about the culture
Avoid the naysayers, the ones that you know will turn every discussion into an opportunity to complain about how awful things are. If things are awful, then you need a council full of people who will be honest about it, but also come to the table with constructive suggestions that also align with the mission and vision of the company.
THE EMPLOYEE COUNCIL MEETING
Employee Council meetings can be the best thing for your organization, or the absolute worst. In order to make it the best and most productive time that your council spends, an agenda is key. This agenda keeps the team on topic and avoids the dreaded complaining session that just gets escalated. When there’s something negative to talk about, have a designated facilitator that keeps the conversation on task, and focused on solutions. There’s a delicate balance between expressing the need to change, and only wanting to hear about sunshine and rainbows. Remember, the goal is for this to get honest feedback, and if there is not an avenue to have that happen then change will never happen either. A facilitated, controlled, positive, professional discussion is going to help your team be the best it can be. We often act as a facilitator in leadership and employee meetings, asking the great questions as a neutral third party. If everyone walks away laser focused on the goals, mission, and vision of the company, then the magic happens!
Forming an employee council could be the difference between a mediocre team culture where you’ve got employees who are possibly looking to leave their jobs and an award-winning team culture where long time employees are firing on all cylinders. This leads to massive business growth, even in the toughest of economic times.
Need a facilitator for your team meetings? Does your leadership team need to get on the same page? Does your company need a team culture checkup? Are you having a hard time with employee retention? We can help. Schedule your FREE, no-obligation business analysis today.