Set Standards to Reinvigorate Your Staff Meetings

Linda Dulye's picture
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If you had to guess, how does your team react when they see “staff meeting” on their calendar? Dread? Enthusiasm? Chances are that the answer is somewhere in the between. And the reason is clear: most staff meetings lack clear purpose and focus. How do yours stack up?

Purpose. Look at why are you conducting your staff meetings. Is it because you have timely and relevant information to share on a regular basis? Are you looking for input, ideas and feedback from your team? Or, is it because you have a recurring staff meeting on your Outlook calendar and you think “well, if it’s on the calendar, we need to meet”? If this is the case, take heart. You’re not alone.

Focus. Next, consider what happens once a meeting gets under way. Do you have a clear agenda or is it anything goes? If your meetings lack direction, momentum and a general flow, no wonder you and your employees might dread walking into the room. When a meeting is unstructured from the outset, it’s unlikely that participants will be engaged or that anything worthwhile will come from it.

Sound familiar? Then try these tips for putting life back in your staff meetings:

1. Set standards. Establish your goals for team meetings. Ask employees what they need from these meetings to do their jobs effectively. Also, determine if meetings can still be held if you’re not there. But the one standard you want to emphasize from the get-go is the expectation that everyone participate in the meetings; if you’re in the room, you’re expected to contribute.

2. Build an agenda. Spell out topics to be covered and assign a specific amount of time for each. This cuts down on confusion and off-topic rambling. A few days before your meeting, send a note to the team asking for agenda topics.

3. Assign roles. Minimize daydreaming by assigning key responsibilities to meeting participants, such as note taker or timekeeper. When action items arise, assign them immediately. The most important role, though, is everyone’s, and that is participation.

4. Share meeting notes. Distribute your meeting notes to the team within 24 hours and post them to a shared resource – a Web page or shared drive – for those who missed the session.

5. Review regularly. It might take a while to get the right rhythm for your meetings. Check the effectiveness at the end of each meeting – What worked well in this meeting? What can we do better? Consider a brief, monthly survey of your staff to gauge effectiveness and drive continuous improvement.

Staff meetings shouldn’t be a check-the-box item. They should be a central component of your overall two-way communications toolbox.

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