It’s all too common to hear employees lamenting the number of “pointless” meetings populating their calendars. Even so, it’s essential to periodically step out from behind our screens and – dare I say it – interact with our fellow team members. Yet while internal meetings can be just as valuable as client-facing ones, they’re not often given the same attention when it comes to preparing.
It’s just a staff meeting, right? Why waste valuable time planning for it?
However, a thoughtfully mapped out staff meeting can have a dramatic impact on team morale. Here are some tips for planning a meeting your employees won’t dread – and that will also contribute to your company’s growth (hint: it’s about more than just providing lunch).
Stagger the Schedule
Our company has many part-time employees who come into the office on different days, so scheduling an all-staff meeting can be challenging. To address this, we stagger our staff meetings: every other week, we hold a 30-minute meeting on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. This schedule allows us to share the same message with all of our employees throughout the week – and the meetings are short enough that my co-founder and I can be present at each one. Of course, it may not be possible to include every employee in every week’s meeting. In that case, aim to circulate staff meeting notes at the conclusion of each week. This ensures the team has a record of the discussion, bridges any variation between meetings (sometimes new topics appear on the agenda as the week progresses), and allows employees who weren’t able to attend to stay informed.
Start With the Good News
When your staff is finally gathered, it’s tempting to dive into “fix it” mode and immediately discuss all the things that need improvement. While we certainly do utilize staff meetings to address mistakes and introduce new initiatives, we kick off every gathering by recognizing the successes we’ve experienced since the last meeting, acknowledging staff members’ accomplishments and highlighting the team’s successes. Staff meetings are an opportunity to make your employees feel celebrated and heard. Plus, laying this groundwork sets a positive tenor for the rest of the meeting – which means that future innovations and constructive criticism may be better received.
Opt for Videos Over Videoconferencing
With an office in South America and a software team in the U.K., we’ve struggled with how to include our remote employees in our staff meetings. We used to invite them to dial into the meeting of their choice; however, the number of awkward pauses and dropped calls seemed to outweigh the upsides. To keep our remote team engaged, we encourage actual videos over video calls. Ask remote workers to create screen capture videos or short presentations highlighting any updates to be played at the meeting. It will keep the flow going and deliver information in the most succinct way possible.
Staff meetings don’t have to be a drag and can actually be an opportunity to celebrate progress and rally your team’s support. Above all, the key to a successful meeting lies in valuing your employees’ time – and that, I can promise, will pay dividends.