Orientation Information

Orientation Information for New Members
of Employee Council

Introduction | Getting Started | Communication Recommendations
Serving as a Resource
| For Advice and Assistance
Advantages of Employee Councils


Employee Councils were established as a valuable and necessary method of encouraging regular two-way communication between the University and those who choose to work here.

To maximize the communication and concern resolution process, we want you to take an active role. The University wants those who choose to be council members to feel free to express their opinions and those of others without the fear of reprisals. The following are suggestions to enable you to become an effective council member.

Getting Started


  • If you have not already been provided a copy of your council by-laws, ask your chair for one and ask about anything that isn't clear.
  • Ask the representative you have replaced to give you any information he or she has collected at previous meetings such as policies, procedures, services, etc.
  • Your regular attendance at each council meeting is important. If you cannot attend, arrange for your alternate to attend. Remember this is your chance to ask and receive answers to your questions and those of others with whom you work.
  • If you ever feel pressured by job responsibilities or your supervisors not to attend council meetings, please promptly advise your supervisor, the council management representative or council chair.

Communication Recommendations


  • You are free to establish whatever mechanism works best to communicate with those you represent. However the importance of having a system that work effectively and efficiently cannot be over-emphasized. Feel free to try one or more of these proven methods:
    • departmental meetings
    • briefing the supervisory staff
    • distributing and/or posting council minutes
    • using e-mail
    • instructing employees on how to use e-mail, electronic bulletin boards, and the employee councils' Web pages effectively

  • Inform employees that you are their representative and make yourself accessible. Everyone you represent should know who you are and how to get in touch with you.

  • Solicit information or questions from those you represent before each meeting. This will remind members of your unit to advise you of their questions and concerns.

  • You may receive important information at times from sources other than council meetings. This information also needs to be communicated. If you think there is a chance those who need it may not get it (employees as well as supervisors) send the information along using the most effective process.

  • If at any time you feel there is a topic which needs discussion at the council but because of the nature of it you do not want to be the one to bring it up, ask your chair before the meeting to put the issue on the agenda.

  • If at any time you feel it is difficult to communicate with members you represent because of the organizational structure, building location, organizational change, size of the group you serve, etc., discuss it with your supervisor, the council management representative or council chair.

Serving as a Resource

  • Consider yourself a source of information for your colleagues. For example:
    • Find out how to access policies and procedures that employees may need to know about.
    • Find out about services which are available to benefit employees. Employee Assistance, Women's Center, Benefits Counselors, Employee Relations, EO/AA services are examples. (See complete resource list.)
    • Feel free to act as an information and a referral service for your fellow employees.

  • Remember you are not expected to be a guidance counselor for those you represent. You are not trained nor have the time. Simply find out who in the University is there to help them and make a referral.

For Advice and Assistance

  • Feel free to contact your council management representative or Employee Relations for guidance as needed. Confidentiality will be maintained.

  • Feel free to report safety and security concerns to management or appropriate services promptly. Do not feel that you need to wait for a council meeting to report these issues.

  • Any time you have questions as to your role, ask whoever you feel is appropriate to answer them.

  • If any time you need to resign from the council, please advise your supervisor, council management representative or council chair.

Advantages of Employee Councils

  1. Facilitates two-way communication between employees and management.

  2. Strengthens employee-employer relationships

  3. Serves as a conduit for employee ideas for improving procedures, safety, benefits etc.

  4. Affords employees the opportunity to meet and become acquainted with management members and vice versa.

  5. Provides employees the opportunity to meet other employees within their vice presidential group.

  6. Provides a forum for employees to voice concerns.

  7. Demonstrates to employees that management is interested in their concerns.

  8. Provides management a means for becoming aware of employee concerns and conditions which require management attention.

  9. Provides a medium of communication between staff members.

  10. Provides management the opportunity to communicate goals.

  11. Provides management the opportunity to explain rationale for existing policies and hear reactions to policies and procedures being considered/developed.

  12. Provides employees with the opportunity to plan and recommend programs of interest and benefit to other employees (competition, recreation, etc.)

  13. Provides management a source of committee members and the opportunity for employees to serve on committees such as Service Awards, Safety, Travel, Benefits, Focus Groups, etc.

  14. Provides employees the opportunity to have management respond instantly to questions and concerns.

  15. Facilitates mutual understanding of management/employee problems.