The concept of the engagement committee has garnered a somewhat tarnished reputation – they have too many meetings, talk a lot but take no action, take time away from real work, etc. We think there are a few reasons for this:

  1. Committees tend to not be empowered to make changes but to only come up with proposals that depend on approval from ownership.
  2. There isn’t a hard deadline by which changes must be made.
  3. Not all committee members are equally invested in their roles (they’re likely the ones drawing cartoons in notepaper margins during meetings).

However, this doesn’t mean you can simply rely on your engagement software to build company culture. When we suggest that companies form Engagement Committees, we have a very different kind of working group in mind.

First, these committees are made up of representatives from all levels and departments of the company, from entry-level assistants to high-level management. Second, they comprise between 5-10 people (avoiding the ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ hazard). Third, they are invested with the power to make some real changes independent of managerial oversight, and to make suggestions and observations that go directly to ownership when investment is required.

And fourth – committee roles are 100% voluntary.

The quarterly Engagement Multiplier survey supplies the hard deadline by default – engagement measures must be put into place with enough time for their effects to be felt before the next survey.

How does an engagement committee work in practice?

Have each department and level select a volunteer to represent them in your Engagement Committee. Anonymous employee feedback from everyone needs to be the heart of your employee engagement solution. Once the survey is complete and results are back, invite the committee to look at the reports and anonymous comments, and then report trends, ideas, and potential solutions to ownership. They should also consider what changes or improvements they can make that don’t require investment or oversight.

The result is that all changes implemented after the survey are done with the support of this committee, which is a representative body of the company.

Stefan Wissenbach explains how Engagement Committees work in more detail in this 2-minute clip:

Engagement Committees aren’t the only way to empower your employees to make a positive change. Read our previous post to find out more about what we call LEOs – Leaders of Engaged Organizations.