To my surprise I was picked as part of a small group from my shift, at my work, to sit in on what my employer calls its “Town Hall” discussion, where employees are given the opportunities to bring up suggestions and insight into the general workplace environment to the Human Resource Manager. First off, in my academic training, these types of meetings would be called “round table” or “brain storming” meeting, but it seems big corporations like their own unique culture that define them from everyone one else. Are they effective? This seems to be the question that I keep mulling over in my mind each time I sit in on one of these. However, I did learn a couple of things, and I did take something from this meeting that I will keep with me for a very long time in my night crew career, however long that maybe.
Meetings of this type are only as effective as the people that participate in them. In terms of rating this meeting, I would give it a six out of ten because I did think that it had merit in that the H.R. Manager did seem highly motivated, and showed a general overall interest in many of the ideas that were put forth my most of the employees. As for the employees, most were genuine about what they were saying, and gave constructive inputs that seemed to go beyond their specific field of job description. But as I later found out, these meetings are regular, and from talking with my peers, almost every topic that was put onto the table had been debated about many times before. Seemingly, most topics in the meeting have been put onto a wish list, or are classified non-negotiable in terms of being to radical in general operations to be implemented. Only a few ideas had been elevated to a “Further Consultation” list, but I have not been given feedback as to what those ideas were. In fact, it is unlikely that we may never have any feedback from that meeting other than the minutes that were kept by the H.R. Manager herself.
Like every work place that I have ever worked at, there are many standard “Types” of participants. From the types that sit there occupying space, to the types that try and hijack the meeting through talking continuously throughout it, this meeting was of no exception. What stood out for me was one woman who not only bought up a myriad of concerns and thoughts to the group, but she almost answered all of them for herself as well. There were a few instances where the conversation broke off into two or three groups, which was not the intended format that the employee was asking for. But things quickly returned to a general attention without any “shushing” among participants. Everyone had their turn.
But other than that, I though the meeting was unusually constructive (based on my experience), in a way that more light about the corporate culture was shed, and allowing me to understanding it better than the initial orientation I had at the beginning of my employment. I did learn a lot form it. But I realized that systems, procedures and operations were put into place for a reason, and that all reasons are set within a corporation are based on the bottom-line. How can you argue with that.