Methods of Participation
Participation of workers in decision-making process has resulted in successful value creation in many organizations. Though the extent to which employees should participate in organizational decision making is still a matter of debate. Some say that workers’ union should participate with management as equal partners while some believe in restricted or bounded participation, that is, participation of employees or workers to a limited extent. However, there are a number of ways through which employees can participate in decision-making process of any organization.
- Participation at the Board Level: Representation of employees at the board level is known as industrial democracy. This can play an important role in protecting the interests of employees. The representative can put all the problems and issues of the employees in front of management and guide the board members to invest in employee benefit schemes.
- Participation through Ownership: The other way of ensuring workers’ participation in organizational decision making is making them shareholders of the company. Inducing them to buy equity shares, advancing loans, giving financial assistance to enable them to buy equity shares are some of the ways to keep them involved in decision-making.
- Participation through Collective Bargaining: This refers to the participation of workers through collective agreements and by deciding and following certain rules and regulations. This is considered as an ideal way to ensure employee participation in managerial processes. It should be well controlled otherwise each party tries to take an advantage of the other.
- Participation through Suggestion Schemes: Encouraging your employees to come up with unique ideas can work wonders especially on matters such as cost cutting, waste management, safety measures, reward system, etc. Developing a full-fledged procedure can add value to the organizational functions and create a healthy environment and work culture. For instance, Satyam is known to have introduced an amazing country-wide suggestion scheme, the Idea Junction. It receives over 5,000 ideas per year from its employees and company accepts almost one-fifth of them.
- Participation through Complete Control: This is called the system of self management where workers union acts as management. Through elected boards, they acquire full control of the management. In this style, workers directly deal with all aspects of management or industrial issues through their representatives.
- Participation through Job Enrichment: Expanding the job content and adding additional motivators and rewards to the existing job profile is a fine way to keep workers involved in managerial decision-making. Job enrichment offers freedom to employees to exploit their wisdom and use their judgment while handling day-to-day business problems.
- Participation through Quality Circles: A quality circle is a group of five to ten people who are experts in a particular work area. They meet regularly to identify, analyze and solve the problems arising in their area of operation. Anyone, from the organization, who is an expert of that particular field, can become its member. It is an ideal way to identify the problem areas and work upon them to improve working conditions of the organization.
Employees can participate in organizational decision making through various processes mentioned above. However, there are other ways such as financial participation, Total Quality Management, participation through empowered teams and joint committees and councils through which they can contribute their share in making the organizations a better place to work.