When planning Works Council training, people often realise that their office building has very nice meeting rooms. After all, we are known for our ‘meeting culture’ in this country. So why would you want to rent an off-site location and spend money when there is a nice, cheap room available at your office building?
optimal effectiveness and efficiency of Works Council training
There are often arguments (especially mentioned by the Director or the HR department) in favour of organising Works Council training on-site. Still, there are more compelling arguments for holding the training sessions off-site. Virtually all the arguments presented in favour of the on-site location always come down to reducing costs. Arguments for an off-site location are all focused on the efficiency of Works Council training.
Works Council training or coaching always requires time, money and effort. And we all want the best results from that meeting: we want the investment in time, money and effort to offer the most significant yield.
four arguments in favour of an off-site location
One factor that can be clearly influenced before the Works Council training/coaching is held, is the location. Therefore, one of the questions is whether/how Works Council training at an off-site location yields more results. Based on my many years of experience, I will list my arguments in favour of an off-site location below.
argument 1: an optimal room layout for training/coaching
It already starts with the fact that a training or coaching session is not a meeting (Dutch). The room layout for a meeting is (often) different from that for a training or coaching session. So, the question is whether the set-up of a meeting is suitable for training/coaching. In my experience, it usually isn’t.
argument 2: interruptions during the training/coaching session
Chances are (based on personal experiences) that as a participant, your colleagues will want to ask you something when you’re at the office during a training or coaching session. Because, after all, you’re at the office. And we usually do not think it is a big deal, interrupting a meeting with a quick question. So why wouldn’t we be able to do so now?
However, during a training/coaching session, such a disturbance has a lot of impact. As a participant, you are actively involved in an internal (thinking) process about new things or practices. If someone disturbs your train of thought to work on your daily work, even if it is a very brief interruption, it can easily take 20 minutes to get back into the process. And that goes not just for you, but for the other participants as well. This negatively impacts the results of the training/coaching session.
argument 3: ‘distance’ contributes to better opinion formation
During the training/coaching session, you usually want to look at things objectively and from a distance: using a ‘helicopter’ view to see where you are coming from, your current position, and where you want to go. That is hard to do in a familiar environment. It is easier when you’re not in the office building, and you can view matters from a distance.
argument 4: private group = teambuilding
Finally, Works Council training/coaching is not only about your personal development, but also about the development of the group. The more time you spend intensively together as a Works Council group, the more remarkable that development is.
At an off-site location, you are more dependent on each other. This is because you know no one else, and the location is unknown to everyone (at least, that is recommended for the maximum effect of an off-site location). Therefore, you are more ’together’, both mentally and physically, spending time together talking, eating, and drinking.
one argument in favour of a meeting room at the office
In the end, after some questioning, I always hear only one argument to hold the Works Council training/coaching session at the group’s office location:
- Management believes that the training can just as well be held at their own meeting location, because an off-site location costs too much.
But this is an invalid argument. After some questioning, they will often tell you that their own management off-site team days or team sessions are always held at an off-site location. They often use all the arguments mentioned in this article in favour of an off-site location.
If management uses this ‘money argument’, this says something about the role of the Works Council in the organisation and the relationships between the Works Council and the management. In other words, it shows whether the Works Council is perceived as a fully grown-up and well-functioning body that it is worth investing in. This is in itself another excellent topic to discuss together during Works Council training/coaching: improving the relationship and understanding between the Works Council and the company management.
The previously published articles the Works Council and spending money on training and guideline amount for Works Council training: as determined by the SER can give you the tools to respond to this.
In recent years, we have gained a lot of experience mediating situations where Works Councils and Directors have a different view of the ideal location for the Works Council training/coaching sessions. Is this a point of discussion for your Works Council and the company management? We are happy to help you discuss this, and above all, find a suitable solution together.
Please send us an email with your question and we will reach out as soon as possible.
Note: Please note that we are a Dutch organisation and that all our information is originally composed in Dutch. For the benefit of our English-speaking customers we have translated some of our online information. We are still in the process of translating even more of our information. It could therefore be that you will come across Dutch pages on CT2.nl. Please contact us if you would like more information.