Employee Involvement- Access Management

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Have you ever participated in an employee involvement program that failed to meet the expectations of management and employees? Did employees feel that management's efforts were disingenuous? Did they become disenchanted or refuse to help? Dr. Hall's theory of Access Management holds the key to making employee involvement work.

Access Management is a validated theory which describes how Access is the key to employee involvement. It makes the difference between mere lip-service and a genuine opportunity for people to collaborate. After management has created openings to get employees involved, the second critical task is to manage Access.

The Star Model of Access Management measures the amount of access given to employees along five critcal supports for involvement.

Access to the Problem Are the problems you are assigning to employees "real" problems? Employees must have access to the problems or opportunities affecting their work.

Access to People Do you create unneeded barriers to the people that are affected by or contribute to the problem? People need access to those who can lend additional insight into the problem. These people may be in another department, another industry, or may even be outside consultants in some circumstances. People need access to them for purposes of critique and searching for more acceptable alternatives.

Access to Information and Resources Do you create unneeded barriers to the information or resources that may be critical to get the job done? Is too much of your information considered "for management's eyes only"? Lack of access to needed information will not only frustrate people's efforts but also undermine their emotional investment in the employee involvement process.

Access to Support Do you actively provide the needed emotional, procedural, and policy supports needed to ensure your employee involvement process is productive? Access to the Solution While it may seem obvious that an invitation for people to work on a problem or opportunity includes coming up with a solution, many managers drop the ball at this point. Are you committed to implementing, or at least testing, the ideas your employees come up with, or are you simply going to take it under advisement? (Nothing will hinder an involvement process more than not committing to their ideas in some way and this may very well hinder you from ever getting them involved again.)

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