Have you ever attended a Work Health and Safety Committee meeting that is so confusing? drifted off? Annoyed? Bored? Frustrated? and full of problems but no solutions? I am sure your answer will be hell yeah! So many times!
To be honest I had my fair share in the WHS Committee and Toolbox meetings. My observation from the meetings is that most of the team members had those feelings in meetings as much as I do. As many people, we often see meetings dismay, mind-numbing and full of crap! So why is that? What is the reason for this presenteeism full of absenteeism? Is that even make sense?
Let me tell you a few stories from WHS Committee meetings that stand out with me.
Confused. We were in a meeting with 40 attendees in a meeting room, 30 odd people connected through phone. Interestingly like myself there were new employees in the meeting. The chair person and the attendees were talking about OFI (Opportunity for Improvement) …No idea what they were talking about, as there were no explanation of what OFI was, and the problems that OFI was causing. I remember still now; it was all about OFI. (Being a Turkish- Australian, and a person who loves Zorba the Greek, each time someone said OFI, in my mind I was dancing! OFI OFI OI! OI! Hey! Hey! Hey! Was practicing my next dance moves in my mind. That’s right! During the meeting I had drifted…had my Homer Simpson thinking hat with the monkeys and the bell) I thought I was the only one. But after the meeting a couple of new employees approached me and asked me what OFI is? What was the purpose of the meeting? Why everyone was talking in special code that even a code breaker would find unbreakable!!!
Did you know according to Verizon Conferencing Meetings in America 91% of attendees admit to day dreaming during the meetings!!! % 39 have napped.
Monopolised. WHS Committee meeting was dominated by one person, god he could talk! 1 hour meeting turns to 4 hours meeting, and all we discuss was this person, their agenda, their feelings! In my mind I had played Oscars exit music over and over, as such the other attendees.
Disconnected. Everyone in the meeting had their phones, and laptops, no one was listening to the chair person. (as he can not see us through a phone meeting!!It was a time to MUTE – apart from the kids and dogs!) One stage Area Manager asked me to cover her, as she needed to have a bite and asked if I could answer all questions directed to her.
Unprepared. Only person who was prepared for the meeting was myself and the Chairperson, and the rest of the team, was unprepared.
Same Problems. The same problems get repeated over and over, again and again, with no solution, whilst new ideas were shot down. Nothing was getting accomplished, same agenda items were labelled “PENDING’ over months.
Bored. The meeting lost its context and purpose. We were all literally checked out. Planning our sick leave for the next meeting. (Praying that next meeting they can have the quorum.)
Can you relate to that as well? So why is this happening? Usually, ultimate blame for the bad meetings falls with the Safety Manager who chairs the meeting in the first place. However, do you think we should blame one person or the whole WHS Committee team for a bad meeting? Or the cost of unproductive time? Or the total salary cost of unproductive meetings?
It doesn’t have to be this way, Health and Safety Committee meetings can help the businesses to accomplish their ultimate goal “Safety of the employees and others” instead of a unnecessary meeting that consumes time, energy, and costs. Here are some useful tips to hold engaging and effective meetings.
Think before you meet. According to Whole Brain Model®, thinking preferences comprised of four different thinking clusters. We usually engage people with the same thinking preferences. We probably prefer to use some over others. We are guaranteed to lose those who aren’t on our thinking preference. Understanding the different thinkers, you can lead highly effective WHS Committee meetings. (You can get more information The Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI).)
Be prepared, consider Whole Brain® Approach. Attendees all have different needs and expectations from the meeting. Incorporate different approaches to get more buy-in, engage and keep focused.
Communicate Effectively. Communication is a two-way process. Attendees will find meetings more productive if there is an opportunity to contribute. If attendees aren’t participating, ask questions and invite participation.
Meeting Minutes/Agenda. Prepare meeting minutes considering all thinking preferences. This will include succinct, clear information. Include facts, what, when, why, where, who and how. Provide meeting minutes in timely manner.
HBDI Assessment for the WHS Committee. Committee members need to understand their and the other committee members thinking preferences.
Train WHS Committee members. It is not sufficient to train the committee members for the WHS Committee training as learning about legislation, their roles and responsibilities. To be honest roles and responsibilities is the easy part. Hard part is strategic communication, decision making and problem solving. A Standard Safety committee training (off the shelve) will not assist your company’s ultimate goal “Safety of all employees and others”.
Do you want to solve your OFI problem? Get in touch with us, we will give you our honest feedback, help you to resolve your dancing Zorba.