How to craft a staff meeting that matters
Why do so many business professionals hate staff meetings?
August 20, 2018

Why do so many business professionals hate staff meetings? Most people have said at one time or another, ‘How am I going to get any work done if I have to go to so many meetings?’

Whether it's an ‘all hands’ staff meeting that involves the entire team, a departmental weekly status meeting or a private conversation for a one-on-one check-in, business meetings can grow to take up a great deal of people's time. Meetings with vague agenda items that go over the allotted time irritate employees and can reduce staff morale and productivity. However, with the right attitude and tools every organisation can make effective meetings a reality.

Determine If the Staff Meeting Is Necessary

While there are several different types of meetings, the constant underlying question is: 'What is the point of this meeting?'

In an effort to increase engagement across departments, many companies opt for regularly scheduled all-staff meetings in person or online. In these types of meetings, the key point may be to share information about new organisational objectives. It may include public praise for high-performing team members or announcing progress towards strategic goals.  

If held too often and always in the same format, all-staff meetings can become redundant and stale. Employees tune out and focus on completing other tasks rather than engaging in the meeting. Meeting leaders often feel they must be doing something wrong when participation falters.

For managers, it's tempting to schedule meetings with their direct reports when a new question from senior management arrives. Perhaps they need answers about a new client for superiors quickly — so they rush to get their entire team on a phone call.

It may not be worth it to call a business meeting if you're scheduling it without a clear purpose. Employees often end up annoyed that an unplanned meeting has disrupted their work schedule and frustrated that they seem to be spending more time in meetings than getting their work done.

As the meeting leader, if you end the meeting without action items assigned across the group and a follow-up plan, the meeting probably wasn't necessary. Unless the matter is truly urgent, it's better to send a quick email or chat message first. A meeting can always be planned later if necessary.

Tighten Up the Attendee List

A major pitfall of regular staff meetings is having too many people in attendance. If you're going to make a team meeting mandatory for certain team members, be sure they are going to have takeaways that help them get their job done. Larger meetings can also be intimidating for shy team members. They may be hesitant to share information even if they have a better idea. Small groups encourage active participation and protect the team from distractions.

Some argue that too many closed-door meetings are harmful to transparency and can damage employee engagement by making some employees feel unimportant, especially in small, growing companies. For some business meetings, you may consider inviting voluntary employees that have the choice to be there. This can help boost engagement while team members retain authority over their time and schedule.

Make Productive Meetings a Priority

If your team meetings aren't run in an effective way, they won't be productive towards meeting company goals. Staff meetings can take up a significant amount of time and many teams misuse time in meetings that aren't productive, wasting resources that can inhibit company growth. Be prepared and make sure each staff meeting has:

  • A clear meeting leader who shares information that is timely and relevant
  • While many 'flat' organisations have little hierarchy across the organisation, it's still critical to assign a leader to each meeting. It doesn't always have to be the same person, but the leader prepares the agenda, keeps team members on task and provides the follow-up action plan.
  • Focused agenda items and specific objectives
  • Planned staff meetings are different than brainstorming sessions. The purpose of most business meetings should set the stage for hard work on the horizon. Not every status update or new idea requires a meeting.
  • A conclusion with assigned action items or a to-do list
  • If a staff meeting doesn't have any measurable outcomes, it wasn't productive. The meeting leader needs to make sure everyone is on the same page and knows their next step towards meeting company goals.

Reduce or Eliminate Meetings With Technology

It's common for leaders to schedule meetings to determine which team members are working on certain tasks so they can report on progress. It takes more than sending an updated to-do list to gauge progress towards goals. Smart businesses should leverage a dynamic program that engages the entire team with a collaborative, transparent work process that has automatic task reminders and public accountability.

Samewave is social performance management software that harnesses the power of Promise-Based Management and Social Discipline to help organisations track, measure and record their commitments to one another. Custom notifications, group conversations, public praise and the ability to upload files keep everyone up to date.

For example, a meeting leader or designated note-taker will record the minutes of a meeting, type out a report and deliver it to the team the next day. Samewave efficiently organizes projects into streams and stores conversations, goals and reports automatically. Teams save time and become more productive with real-time access to progress updates on individual tasks and targets, reducing and sometimes even removing the need for traditional meetings.

Recharge Your Staff Meetings

Staff meetings will always remain a beneficial part of the workplace. However, companies can drastically reduce the amount of status update and check-in meetings with social performance software. Samewave even includes the ability to create insightful data reports, agendas and action plans in one place. Make the most of every meeting and get your team on the Samewave today, for free.

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