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Enhance Impact

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES (BMPs)

Best Management Practices (BMPs), Best Practices (BPs) or Recommended Practices (RPs) are all similar. Under any title, BMPs are practices to guide industry activity in the area the synergy group represents.

BMPs are always, and should be always, specific to a community. The strength of these documents lie in their ability to address specific issues or concerns in a specific community. This allows BMPs to recognize what makes each community unique. One community might have a sensitive wildlife area such as a wetland, lake, or tract of undisturbed forest, while another might have rural schools that companies need to be aware of.

Here are links to some sample BMP documents provided to us by various Synergy Groups. These documents serve as a good starting point and can save time and effort versus starting from scratch.

Synergy Alberta recommends contacting the creator/author of any documents listed here to ensure you can use or alter any part of the document and that you have the most up-to-date version.

Synergy-driven BMPs:

Industry and government driven BMPs:

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FACILITATION

Synergy Alberta recommends Synergy Groups benefit from the expertise and experience that a professional facilitator can bring to the table.

A facilitator is:

  1. A neutral person able to help a group work through challenging issues, identify goals, select activities and stay on track (both during meetings and throughout its existence.)
  2. Some groups hire a facilitator to work with them continually throughout their synergy processes (regular meetings, public events, etc.), while others hire a facilitator for specific projects such as creating a vision and mission, strategic planning, public input on new developments or for large public events.
  3. A facilitator is not emotionally involved in the group or the issues facing the group so he or she can objectively guide the group through problem-solving and decision-making.
  4. A facilitator can help balance participation between outgoing and quieter group members and make sure everyone hears and is heard and help groups work through contentious and often emotional issues.
  5. Many facilitators are trained in dealing effectively with conflict and can be key to a group formed in response to a contentious issue moving forward effectively while continuing to build relationships between members.
  6. As a neutral party present at meetings, a facilitator can also help group members stay on track and work through agenda items in a timely fashion. Keeping meetings effective is an important way to keep the entire group effective and maintain the members' interest.
  7. A Synergy Group may benefit from a facilitator's service as the group is forming to help bring people together in a collaborative way, and throughout the group's tenure to ensure that the group remains collaborative and efficiently organized.

Why use a facilitator?

A facilitator is not emotionally involved in the group or the issues facing the group. The facilitator is not a group member, he or she can objectively guide the group through problem-solving and decision-making.

A facilitator can help balance participation between outgoing and shy group members and help groups work through contentious and often emotional issues. Many facilitators are trained in dealing effectively with conflict and can be key to a group formed in response to a contentious issue moving forward effectively while continuing to build relationships between members.

As a neutral party present at meetings, a facilitator can also help group members stay on track and work through agenda items in a timely fashion. Keeping meetings effective is an important way to keep the entire group effective and maintain the members' interest.

A Synergy Group may benefit from a facilitator's service as the group is forming to help bring people together in a collaborative way, and throughout the group's tenure to ensure that the group remains collaborative and efficiently organized.

What are the differences between facilitation, mediation, and arbitration?

Facilitation is providing process guidance to a meeting, or series of meetings of a particular group. Facilitation promotes collaboration among participants while having effective and efficiently run meetings. Facilitators are trained to handle conflict situations as they occur.

Mediation is process for resolving conflict which is best described as assisted, face-to-face discussion between the parties who are in conflict. The parties involved shape their own outcome or agreement. Mediators are neutral third parties who are specifically trained to guide the parties through a process to resolve their issues.

Arbitration is also a process for resolving conflict. However, arbitration involves a third party who makes a decision for the two parties in conflict. It is a formal process, which requires input from the participants, although they have no input into the decision.

What would a synergy group do if a facilitator shows bias?

This would be an unusual situation. However, if a group believes that a facilitator is biased in any way, the group should make a collaborative decision to address this with the facilitator.

If the facilitator is unable to resolve this issue, then the group should ask the facilitator to leave the group and find another facilitator.

 

HIRING HELP

Like purpose and funding, Synergy Groups vary widely in whether or not they chose to contract or hire someone to assist their group. Alternatives include volunteer-run (no need to hire), facilitators for specific events only (strategic planning or public events), ongoing facilitation/administration support, part-time staff, full-time staff and office space.

Whichever direction a group chooses, here is some information on creating job descriptions, advertising your job opening and hiring a candidate:

Admin Hiring Tips

Sample Job Related Forms

For additional HR related information including human resources management, employment standards in Alberta workplace health and safety and more, refer to:

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NEWSLETTERS

Getting information to a large group of people is important and some groups use newsletters to communicate important information.

Content can range from background on the group, lists of members and their contact information, how to get involved with the group, information on specific topics or issues or promotion of upcoming events.

West Central Stakeholders Newsletters:

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OPEN HOUSES

Many synergy groups host Open Houses or Information Nights to share information with members of the public in their communities. There are many formats for these events including an informal 'trade show' where group members set up booths or displays for attendees. Other options include presentations (with or without question and answer periods) or a combination of booths and presenters.

Open house resources:

 

YOUTH INVOLVEMENT

Synergy groups often look for ways to involve people not otherwise connected to their group's activities. One example from West Central Stakeholders encourages youth involvement by inviting applications for two bursaries which are awarded based on attendance at meetings and events, as well as other forms of involvement.  

Examples from West Central Stakeholders:

 

DEVELOPING A WEBSITE

Synergy Alberta offers groups a professional, cost-effective and low-maintenance website. Groups can chose to create a webpage through the Synergy Alberta website in order to share more information with their communities and stakeholders.

Website uses include posting meeting minutes, dates and locations of upcoming meetings and events, links to best practices, publication of newsletters and lists of member companies.

To get started, fill out a Web Page Planning Worksheet [.doc] and e-mail it to webmaster@synergyalberta.ca.