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How can I encourage participation in my monthly meeting?

by on
in The HR Specialist Forum

Question: “As part of my duties, I run a monthly safety committee meeting. To say that people don't care would be a gross understatement. To build a little enthusiasm, last month I organized a potluck lunch, which worked great until we finished eating. Then it was back to normal: no input and no knowledge shared. How can I make these meetings exciting enough to encourage members to participate?” — TK, Hawaii


You may want to ask your committee members to talk to some of your employees and report back to the committee concerns/issues that the employees have. You may also want to conduct an inspection of your facility as part of the meeting to look for safety hazards.

How about a change in committee members? You may want to see who in your organization would welcome the opportunity to serve.

Your safty committee should be composed of a safety chair person, somebody that can make change in the facility and someone from the industrial safety office, if you have one.

The meeting should discuss previous issues and end with a safety inspection and minutes of the safety inspection should be available to all employees. First aid kits should be inspected and stocked in these inspections.

The safety committee should review all proposed set-ups. Purchase of chemicals and/or gas regulators should have a safety officer signature.

It's nice if you can compose the safety committee with members of various disciplines. e.g electrical for electrical violations, chemical: for chemical violations etc.

Employees should be encouraged to voice their concerns.

You can focus on things like unsecured gas cylinders, tripping hazzards, MSDS binders, Chemical Hygene plan.

Eventually with all the major problems solved you'll be looking for tripping hazzards, unlabeled containers and housekeeping.

Minor violations are fixed on the spot. Assign a member during the inspection who will make sure that violations are timely fixed.

The day of the inspection and next meeting should be known only to members of the committee.

Serving is work. It's not a means of getting out of work. If there are no contributions, then send the member back to work and appoint a new member.

You might consider rotating chairmanship of the meeting, sometimes just taking this step sets the mindset that everyone is expected to participate and ownership is not on one person. Also, you might revist what the purpose is for meeting, this can become convoluted for some after a while, especially if they are on multiple committees. Last of all, you can create a meeting evaluation form so committee members can provide input on whether they feel their time is being utilized effectively. If they don't feel it is, then it's also an opportunity for them to make suggestions on improvement. I.e., they become part of the solution.

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