Holding Productive Staff Meetings
When employees hear the word staff meeting the first thing that may come to mind is . . . “time waster.” According to a recent survey of U.S. professionals by Salary.com, meetings ranked as the number one office productivity killer. For many employees, staff meetings are seen as a time when a manager may drone on and on, or “Bob” from marketing hijacks the meeting or worse yet, when they are continually asking themselves “why am I here?” There’s no quicker way to sap employee morale and productivity than by convening a meeting that fails to produce results. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. If done correctly, meetings can be effective, spark creativity, unite the group and prompt meaningful action. Let’s look at some suggestions to keep your meetings on track and make them fruitful and productive.
- Purpose – Every meeting should have a purpose or goal. It should not just be held because it is Monday and meetings are always on Monday. That purpose should be laid out in a written agenda that clearly states what will be discussed and materials that employees will need with them. Tell them your time frame so they know how much time to block off for the meeting.
- Involve Everyone – There really is nothing worse than going to a meeting where an employee feels invisible. Don’t let one person hog the show or overrule others. Make sure you hold a meeting where everyone’s voice is heard. Meetings that offer everyone a chance to voice their opinions and insight are much more productive than meetings that only have one or two voices in conversation.
- Ban Distractions – With so many people tethered to their smartphones, it is no doubt that they are a distraction. Ask that phones, tablets, or other devices be put aside while discussions are happening. Note taking is usually allowable but during brainstorming or back-and-forth discussions assign a note taker so others can concentrate on the task at hand.
- Follow Up – One chief complaint about meetings is that items that were discussed and actions that were decided upon somehow don’t get done. Compile the meeting’s notes into action items and distribute them to everyone who attended. Appoint someone to keep track of who’s responsible for doing what and by when. This helps people understand that the end of the meeting signals the start of taking action.
- Give Credit Where Credit is Due – Sometimes staff meetings get caught up in the minutia of everyday workplace activities. It is a good idea to spend some time during each meeting doling out praise for a job well done or a key project completed. The positive reinforcement will go a long way to keep morale up and employees inspired to do more.