Presently an Executive HR Consultant for International Consulting Associates, Victor Melendez uses his Human Resources background to advise companies in the areas of labor relations, management training, and coaching/mentoring. During his 20-year career in human resources management, Victor Melendez has developed extensive expertise in employee relations, including overseeing employee action teams.
High performing companies have come to understand that employee engagement is an important component in business success. These companies know that work engagement fosters employee motivation and helps them focus on business goals, while disengagement can negatively influence the quality of production and customer service and other areas critical to the business. Research studies show that factors contributing to high employee engagement vary across regions and industries.
Influenced by the practices of foreign companies in the 1970s, some American businesses began organizing non-managerial employees into employee action teams to allow members to contribute input and make decisions about the work performed. Although no longer a new concept, more and more companies continue to adopt these practices. Employee action teams ensure every employee has a say in a two-way dialogue of communication. Employee engagement requires active involvement of front line employees. This necessitates a shift from traditional top-down decision-making structures to new business cultures where employees help facilitate the process of problem resolution.
When designing employee action teams, companies must first establish a sound business need, followed by common definitions. Senior leaders must support this structure. Additionally, everyone must understand the purpose of the structure and its value. Next, the scope of the program requires clarification with resources allocated to the process. The employees select team leaders who require proper training and orientation. Regular meetings should take place with measurement and reporting tools established. The employee action team should regularly recognize participants and progress. To sustain employee engagement, companies must adopt a permanent culture of employee involvement through its action teams.