Conducting Effective Staff Meetings

An exercise that I find surprisingly few companies doing effectively is conducting regularly scheduled staff meetings. In my experience, these businesses are letting a great opportunity go unrealized, as this is often the only hour of the week that everyone is gathered together to “get on the same page” with each other. Think of this as synchronizing your watches to the same time.

I feel that there are several “musts” when planning staff meetings. They must be on a consistent day each week so that they become habit. Attendance must be mandatory. They must have a stated beginning and ending time – no more than one hour in duration. They must have a stated agenda that is posted in advance. This allows staff to come prepared with relevant questions and comments. Each topic must have an allotted timeframe. This allows the moderator to keep on task and move on to the next item when appropriate, rather than getting bogged down on one topic.

Don’t hesitate to assign staff members a topic to own and present during the meeting. It will keep them engaged and help to keep the general feeling less like a lecture. I have always felt that a great way to begin meetings is by asking staff to share customer service stories observed when they were the customer themselves during the past week. It keeps them focused on what’s really important to being effective in their duties.

Don’t forget to ask what topics staff members would wish to see covered in future meetings. You will be amazed at the good suggestions received. And please, please don’t confuse this meeting’s purpose with that of a product knowledge presentation by a vendor. There will be time for those later. Job one at these meetings is building teamwork and keeping everyone focused in the same direction. Properly executed, this will become the most important hour of the work week.

Tom Jennings

Saturday, December 1, 2012