Another method for engaging employees is to hold professionally facilitated town hall meetings and focus groups. These well-organized and timely sessions are designed to get employees to open up and more importantly to listen to messages you need them to hear. However, management is not allowed to speak at these sessions. An independent facilitator will ensure that there is no filtering or altering of employee comments and concerns, and has tools to ensure the flow of ideas/solutions occur naturally and spontaneously.
Meetings can create a two-way dialogue between management and employees.
A professional facilitator also has tools to implant important messages you need employees to absorb and this increases the likelihood that employees will support the overall message because they are not delivered by someone they fear.
These sessions are invaluable because the more layers of management that you have in your organization, the more likely that information going from the executives to the employees is filtered and altered. Each layer of management also contains the possibility that information from employees to the executives is diluted and biased. The overall intent of these open meetings between senior executives and employees is to remove those naturally occurring filters.
Town hall meetings and focus groups need to be held regularly and in every part of your organization. To ensure success, remember: When a meeting designed to create dialogue is led by a member of management, employees will not be honest because they believe management already has the answers and are merely ‘acting’ like they care.