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Why Set Up an Internal Committee?
A Stakeholder Definition

Committees of Safety, Health + Quality

An internal committee is effective at solving problems and engaging staff; it consists of stakeholders in business (such as committees of safety or policy). What is a stakeholder definition? Learn more about the importance of employees as a key stakeholder group.

And, recognize that if your small business has less than five employees, it is unlikely that you will have the resources to set up internal committees to get things done; instead you may need to work with external or outsourced support (unless you plan some rapid growth in employee hires ahead)

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An internal committee makes sense if you have staff and/or other stakeholders in business to participate on the committee.

The purpose of setting up and using committees is to tackle a plan, issue or problem that can benefit from a team (or committee) approach.

There are other activities that all small business owners (with staff or without staff) can undertake to build a useful small business forum or community: such as finding and working with business mentors or business coaches, specifically during challenging times (or even on an every-day basis, to help guide and support you); joining and participation in the right type of association - one that helps you build your business; and joining or developing a strong business network that will help you assess and improve your business (make sure you understand the key strategies for a successful network before joining one).

Your Internal Committee Needs to Have a Mandate

It needs something to accomplish (otherwise why are you meeting or investing time and resources to it?). It also needs access to business resource tools to help research business solutions.

Before you set up a committee, develop a stakeholder definition that includes who will participate, what their 'stake' in the process is, what the desired outcome is, and whether or not your stakeholders in business will be part of a long-term committee or a short-term one (define the time-line).

You need to do this to be clear about expectations, commitments and time-frames. There are lots of committees that 'live on' in organizations long past their 'expiry' date because there was no stakeholder definition outlined from the start; that just becomes a time-waster for your organization.

Effective Internal Committees for You to Build:

  • Continuous improvement committee

    Focus on analyzing non-conformance in manufacturing or service and then, after analysis, focus on building improvement plan(s).

  • Employee committee

    An employee committee can be a good, informal way to communicate with employees. However always follow up in writing if you are communicating important changes or policies and practices.

  • Committees of Safety, Environment and/or Health (sometimes all three are handled by one committee)

    This type of committee can be invaluable in setting up safety practices and investigating safety incidents. When employees are committed to, and involved with setting up, safety and health practices there is simply more engagement and acceptance of those practices.

  • Environmental committee

    The same is true of establishing in-business environmental practices. Employees will engage and be much more committed to the process of environmental responsibility if they are not just viewed as part of the problem (what do they do with the pop cans they drink at lunch or the newspapers they read at coffee time), but are also allowed to participate in developing the solutions.

  • Management committee

    Regular meetings to deal with day-to-day activities and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

    Having these meetings actually minimizes daily interruptions if you can train your managers to save all but the urgent issues for the meeting. And often if managers can save those issues for a meeting, they've solved the issue by the time the meeting occurs.

    This committee format seems to be most effective when held on a regular and frequent basis (e.g. every Friday from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.). Have someone record action items and circulate the same day as the meeting.

Committees of Safety, Human Resources, Quality Improvement are just a Few to Consider -

More Examples Include:

  • a Task Force to address a specific, rather immediate concern or issue;

  • a Project Team to develop a plan and implement it (e.g. new software implementation; research into new products or services; etc.)

  • a Customer Service Team to improve service by including staff from operations, marketing, finance, shipping/warehousing, etc.

Before setting up committees to work on specific tasks, it is critically important that you develop a stakeholder definition and a stakeholder model for your business. You need to decide what, when, why, who and how your committees will operate in your business and when you do, or don't want, them to act.

Internal Committees can Become Effective Internal Small Business Forums

They can be a place to discuss what's most important to your business, with people who are important to both you and your business.

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