One of the most popular mantras in business is “Communication is key.” To keep operations running smoothly, you and your managers must keep all employees aware of the latest information, from what’s on sale to external issues that might affect your business to reminders of important rules that need to be followed.
As operators, it’s our responsibility to ensure all staff members are on the same page and the most effective means to do that is the team meeting. After all, group texts and emails are impersonal. Posting notices on a bulletin board doesn’t ensure that everyone sees them. And sharing information from person to person may result in a game of telephone.
Every business is different, and the types or frequencies of these meetings will obviously differ for everybody. Whether your business needs daily 10-minute standups, weekly check-ins, or monthly all-hands meetings, this is your chance to inform, teach and encourage your staff. Embrace it and work it to its fullest potential.
7 Tips for Running Productive Team Meetings
1. Determine the best way to get your entire staff together.
If your business has a small team and limited operating hours, it may be easy to gather everyone together. Office-based and remote work teams can meet on a web conferencing call. For those small businesses with more complex staffing schedules, you may need to conduct a few meetings with different shifts. The goal is to make sure every team member has access to the important information that you’re sharing.
2. Create an agenda and make it interesting.
The reality is that not everyone is going to love your team meetings. They may feel these meetings interrupt time-sensitive work or feel like a bore. Being organized helps keep things short, sweet and on point. And finding ways to engage employees will help your staff stay engaged and retain important information. Be mindful that these meetings take away from your team’s day-to-day tasks. Make sure each meeting is useful and enjoyable, so that they don’t become something your staff resents.
3. Help employees do their jobs better.
One way to engage employees during staff meetings is to impart information in ways that help them do their jobs better. For example, if you run a restaurant, are you promoting a special dish or adding new wines to your list? Let the staff taste the dish and have it described to them by the chef, so they are better poised to sell it. A retailer can share details of weekly sales items and how best to promote these items to customers. A creative services firm can discuss a new software tool or a successful project that can inspire work for other clients.
4. Discuss successes and give shout-outs.
When you have the entire crew together, it can be a wonderful time to encourage and commend employees for jobs well done and goals that have been accomplished. Highlight specific accomplishments and encourage staff to give each other praise as well. Or better yet, open the floor to the broader team and give everyone the chance to give their colleagues the attention they deserve.
5. Celebrate and connect with your team.
Team meetings aren’t just opportunities to bombard your staff with facts and news. They are a great opening for owners and managers to connect with your people in a more personal way. Keep it fresh! Have your meeting outside on a nice day. Celebrate staff birthdays and anniversaries. Ask fun get-to-know-you questions. Do quick ice-breaker exercises that help build internal bonds. Use this time to build staff relationships and not just pour instructions down their throats.
6. Listen to your team.
Communication is a two-way street. As much as you may talk, stop and listen! Staff meetings should be a comfortable environment where team members can voice their opinions and concerns. Be sure to take notes and follow up, so that they know their feedback isn’t just going in one ear and out the other.
7. Learn and adapt.
After a few regularly scheduled meetings, take a step back to assess what is and is not working — and ask your staff to contribute their thoughts. Are the meetings too frequent or not frequent enough? Too short or too long? Do the meetings need a follow-up email that employees can reference? By gathering feedback and acting upon it, you will show your staff that you care about their concerns.
Thoughtfully executed staff meetings should be greeted with open arms by your staff, rather than shrugged off. To get to that point, it’s important to listen and make necessary changes so your team feels like their time is well-spent.
This is your stage. Make the most of it while you have everyone’s attention!