It’s time for you to take a hard look at your staff meetings. And unless you can demonstrate a clear and compelling reason for them, you should consider alternatives.
First let me address the two usual staff meeting justifications. “Everyone needs to know what’s going on.” Sorry, employees tell me they don’t care what their coworkers did last week. “It pulls us together as a team.” Again, what I’m hearing is that they don’t feel all warm and fuzzy about their coworkers after a staff meeting.
Staff Meeting Alternative #1: One-on-Ones
It makes sense for you know what your employees are doing. There’s potential benefit if coworkers know as well. Most of time they don’t see the benefit so aren’t getting any. If you need to be reminded of this, think about the staff meeting you attend that’s run by your boss.
Most bosses run staff meetings for their own benefit. It saves time—for the boss. Think about it. You pull everyone together for an hour, give each a few minutes to fill you in on the highlights, and you are done. One hour later you have what you need.
The problem is your ten employees had to sit there for an hour listening to updates they don’t care about. Total employee hours in this scenario is 11 hours.
Since staff meetings often run like a series of short one-on-one conversations, then you should have one-on-one meetings. It will probably take more of your time, but overall will save time.
Do the math. Even if all ten employees each got 15 minutes of your time (which is more than they are getting in the staff meeting), you spend two and a half hours and your team collectively consumes the same. Total employee time is now five hours, less than half of what you spend in the staff meeting. You’d have to stretch these check-in meetings out to 30 minutes per employee before reaching the break-even point.
Staff Meeting Alternative #2: E-something Updates
Here’s another way of skipping the staff meeting. Tell people what you need to know. Ask them to communicate that information to you via some electronic means. If you do think it makes sense for a wider distribution, use one of the many tools that exist for creating online collaboration at work. You could also simply forward those updates and those who are interested can read them.
Staff Meeting Alternative #3: Teambuilding
As for the second justification of creating a sense of team, I do think you need to bring people together to accomplish it. I think it rarely, if ever, happens by having people sit around a table and provide updates. If that’s your goal, create a session that focuses on helping people become a stronger team. Team building doesn’t just happen by chance. Be purposeful.
Bottom line: Staff meetings aren’t necessary. There are other ways to meet the goals you have for them. Try an alternative with your group.Have other ideas. Add them to the comments.