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Seb Anthony

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Employee Forums – any experience in running them?

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We have an employee forum, which has been on the go for nearly a year, but they have not been involved in any major projects and seem to be loosing their 'steam'. Does anyone have any suggestions about how best to get this project back on track?
Jennifer Lowry

3 Responses

  1. Employee forums
    I have experience of setting up forums. Their purpose a channel to INFORM and CONSULT staff. Map out the substantial issues that are brought to the forum by both sides. If there is a weakness noticeable from your analysis, then you may have found your answer. For example, if management is not bringing consultation issues to the forum, or staff are not requesting information. In particular, if the forum is no longer operating as a conduit for consultation, then it will loose steam.

    Look also at the frequency of meetings. If you are having them too often, then they can become a chore. I would normally suggest once-a-quarter as a minimum for a UK forum.

    If you have a regular staff opinion survey, tie the forum into this. If the management is committed to acting on its outputs, this will become a project for the forum.

    Other ideas, such as away days for the whole group, are useful. However they may only be quick fixes.

    Good luck
    Paul Strange

  2. Variety & Activities Beget Enthusiasm
    Some suggestions:

    Given that the Forum does not have major projects, if you don’t have at least minor projects, then consider whether you need a Forum. But if you do, then borrow from all the techniques that add enthusiasm to training sessions, i.e.:
    * Schedule a different outside guest for each Forum, to add fresh perspective to current issues,
    * Have a printed Agenda, importantly with required reports by each Forum Member as needed,
    * Have short interactive exercises planned, i.e. brainstorming, role-playing, etc. which will involve Forum members in working together creatively during the session to solve problems / resolve issues,
    * Use visual aids for addded interest,
    * Etc.

    And of course, as you give enthusiasm so shall you receive.

  3. Forums revisited
    A forum will only succeed should it retain a ‘results’ focus. This entails making sure that all are made aware and reminded of what changed as a consequence of the previous ones. If nothing changes then I wouldn’t want to participate either. Even when nothing can change you must notify them of ‘WHY’.
    Observe whether the negativity is concentrated in a few individuals. If so then invite discussion on items of their choosing.

    [email protected]

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