Participation versus involvement of Employees

By yashodhan_kanade on Mon, 26 August 2013 at 12:43 IST
Participation versus involvement of Employees


We have been hearing phrases like Management by participation and Total Employee
Involvement. All the performance improvement techniques, be it - ISO 9001:2008 (involvement of people), TQM (involve & empower people), TPM (involve operators), Kaizen (Seek wisdom of ten people rather than intelligence of one) or lean manufacturing (blame nobody, involve everybody) profoundly advocate “involvement of people at all levels, to fulfill organization’s goals” It is imperative that unless people get involved in activities, desired results and improvements cannot be achieved. This is because; all the work within the organization is done by the employees. Even casual employees and outsourced service providers contribute to the success.

When an “Army of employees”, armed with facilities, responsibilities and empowerment carries out their set mission, the objectives of an organization are fulfilled. “Total Employee Involvement” (TEI) is therefore Need of the day. However, in spite of such a basic aim, very few entrepreneurs or managers succeed in the purpose.

Actually, majority of people believe that getting “Performing people” is almost impossible.
Majority of managers, when something goes wrong, still use a recognized excuse -

With these people what do you expect?
This raises a question whether Total Employee Involvement is a Myth or Reality?

Yes, it is possible to have or create an army of fully performing people First step is to employ competent people. Once we recruit competent people,

We need to train them and retain them. Not all the times People are useless, many a times their talent is used less. Not all the times they are careless, many a times they are cared less. We need to look after “Human resource” as we look after our other resources & develop them

Soon they give return more than the amount of expenses incurred on them and they become our “Asset”

What is the difference between employee participation and employee involvement?
Many people confuse between employee participation and employee involvement
Employee participation is an act of sharing in something irrespective of their interest.
Sometimes due to obligation or helplessness they are forced to participate.

For example in training organized for employees, many employees attend it without any interest and gain nothing out of it. Sometimes they are forced to fulfill some target of HR department.

On the other hand, Employee involvement is when employees are included in issues of their interest. It is therefore imperative that an employee should be asked areas of his interest at the time of recruitment’ with the intention to involve them.

Let us take an example.
Many people participating in a “Morcha” have nothing to do with it. They participate for various reasons and forget about it as soon as the purpose is over. On the other hand people got voluntarily involved in freedom movement

Involvement begins with participation
First step of employee involvement begins with employee participation that grows gradually in involvement, for example - Pooja day, Employee birth days, Shramadan day, Blood donation day, No ghutka day, Founders day, Independence day and so on

We may have various “Activity weeks” followed by rewards and appreciations, for example:

  • Safety week
  • Environment week
  • Hygiene week
  • Medical week
  • Good behavior week
  • Cleanliness drive week
  • 7. Plantation week
  • 8. Cultural week
  • 8. Sports week
  • 9. Employee’s talent week etc.

Participation leads to involvement

Some of the involvement methods

  • Sending employees to exhibitions, seminars etc
  • Asking employee to explain the guests / customers about latest development
  • Display suggestions from employees for improvement with photographs on notice board
  • Taking corrective action and standardizing improvement and displaying it on notice board
  • Implementation, maintenance and improvement in 5-S activities
  • Display kaizen Sheets on Kaizen board with photos.
  • Quality circles activities
  • Total productive maintenance and so on

What are the aspects of employee involvement?
Every employee is regarded as a unique human being and not just a cog in the machine or a robot Each employee is involved in helping the organization to meet its goals
Each employee’s input is solicited and valued by the management Employees and management recognize that each employee is involved in running the business
Effective Communication is an integral part of TEI Displaying before & after photographs, One point lessons does not require any language to explain.

When we involve people as much as possible in all aspects of work decisions and planning
=> It Increases ownership and commitment,
=> Retains our best employees and
=> Fosters an environment in which people choose to be self motivated and contributing

Current asset turns into a long term asset
Involvement is never a one sided affair. Employees too have a role to play

A professional organization provide its employees:
=> Opportunities, [get involved to improve results & show their talent]
=> Responsibility [ to carry out processes effectively & efficiently]
=> Authority [ empowerment to take decisions for saving losses ]
=> Facilities to carry out work [ to make work simpler & stress free ]
=> Training & refresher training [ to improve their competency ]
=> Looks after them

and expects from them:
=> Accountability – for time, resources, targets through system
=> Predictability – do what you committed – no excuses!!!
=> Creativity – through application of knowledge gained
=> Innovation – application of new ideas – kaizen
=> Continual improvement in everything done, substantiated by data or objective evidence
[ proof ]
=> Achieve objectives & contribute to make the organization a market leader

It is interesting to find why do people work?
People work for:

  • CONSCIENCE [INNER VOICE] etc, according to their interest.

What is HRD?
Some people consider it as HR – Human Resource while some feel HRD as Human Resource Department. In reality HRD should be looked as “Human Resource Development process” and the departmental head as Human Resource Development “Process Owner”.It is a process that has input as competence level of existing employees, the process activities are recruitment, training and other actions well designed to improve their competency level and the output is improved competency.
Competency involves – Education, Skill, Training & Experience If competency of employees gets improved continually over a period of time, leading to improvement in profits and customer satisfaction, we can say that the objectives of HRD are fulfilled.

Yashodhan Kanade
Lean Manufacturing consultant
[email protected]
Mob: 919822470912

Yashodhan Kanade is a Lean Manufacturing consultant. (M) +919822470912