Here’s a stat for you, the average office worker attends some 62 meetings in a month. That’s about two meetings a day. With the typical meeting scheduled for sixty-minutes, workers are losing around 2 hours each day, and up to 40 hours a month!
That employees listed too many meetings as the #1 time-waster at the office says a lot about our collective feelings on the subject.
As HR grows into a more distinct, unique leadership role, it’s important HR takes the lead when it comes to employee engagement and satisfaction. Working with team managers to improve meetings is one way to do this.
HR professionals can alleviate meeting fatigue by helping managers develop more effective ways to hold them.
To help, we’ve outlined 10 musts HR leaders should include when building a team meeting strategy for managers to use.
1. Develop a (Succinct) Agenda
Without an agenda a meeting will lack focus and can quickly fall off track.
- Help meet objectives
- Ensure meeting attendees understand why the meeting is taking place
- Foster engagement
Encourage managers to make a plan and stick to it.
2. Do a Little Pre-Work
Okay, it sounds counterproductive, but having meeting attendees do a little pre-work can lead to more in-depth discussions come meeting time. Encourage managers to send their attendees the agenda and the meeting’s objective ahead of time. This will give them time to organize their thoughts and prep themselves for the meeting.
Encouraging a bit of pre-work will lead to richer and more efficient in-meeting discussions.
3. Have Attendees Show Up with Solutions In-Hand
Having attendees complete a little pre-work can make your meeting far more actionable. When attendees know the meeting’s focus and come prepared, it’s easier to move forward.
Part of the strategy you develop should advise managers to encourage attendees to bring a few key ideas or potential solutions they might have based on the agenda.
This way, teams can skip the brainstorming and instead focus on the ideas team members put together ahead of time.
4. Designate Roles
Most team meetings will have a manager leading it (though you may encounter managers who like to encourage different team members to take the lead from time to time.) What matters is that it’s clear who the meeting leader is. Along with that, who’s taking minutes? Who’s keeping time?
Meetings run best when attendees are designated roles.
There are four roles that must be filled for a meeting to make sense:
- The Leader
- The Recorder
- The Timekeeper
- The Participant(s)
Make sure managers know it’s the meeting leader’s job is to see to it each role is filled and executed according to plan.
5. Less is More
Remind managers that a meeting needs focus.
A collaborative meeting will generate new ideas, some that will require meetings of their own. Managers can schedule those meetings later. Keep focused!
Encourage managers to allocate one attendee to handle “parking lot” items—important matters that come up during your meeting that require more time (just not this meeting’s time).
6. Stick to the Allotted Time
If a manager schedules a sixty-minute meeting, don’t let them go over it. Yes, their meeting is important but so is respecting team members’ time.
7. Make Meetings Shorter
Speaking of sixty-minute meetings—suggest managers consider cutting team meeting times by half, or at least fifteen minutes. The longer a meeting lasts, the harder it is to keep your audience’s attention from veering.
Shorter meeting times can boost productivity and efficiency. Give it a try.
8. Engage Remote Participants
Not everyone can always be physically in the room. Maybe your business has a few remote workers, or offices across multiple cities—regardless, an effective team meeting involves engaging all participants.
Institute an on-camera rule. Rather than having remote workers call-in, get them on camera using a video collaboration tool.
Video calls are known to enhance focus and engagement. They also limit multi-tasking and increase productivity.
9. Incorporate Multiple Learning Styles
No two people consume information in the same way. Some people love a talking head. Some people respond better to visuals, others learn best when they’re active participants.
Team meetings rely heavily on discussion, but they can always benefit from additional resources. Have managers incorporate images, audio and video clips and opportunities for attendees to interact and collaborate.
10. End Meetings with Next Steps
Great meetings result in new ideas, action items and valuable insights—meeting leaders should set aside the last five minutes of a meeting to sum up what’s been accomplished.
An effective meeting strategy will include setting out next steps, delegating work and defining timeframes, ensuring key meeting insights are put to good use.
Be a Leader
Meetings can be time consuming. But an effective meeting leader who takes the time to prepare and organize a meeting can make them efficient, worthwhile and fun. The unique role the HR department plays within a corporation makes it the perfect team to create a strategy mangers can use for effective meetings.