Imagine if you worked in an organization where staff members have no idea what other staff members are doing, management has no idea what staff is doing, standard operating procedures aren’t followed, important things often “fall through the cracks,” there’s a lot of redundancy of effort and communication, and any improvements implemented quickly go by the wayside because follow through is nonexistent.
I hope this description doesn’t sound like your organization, but unfortunately for one of my readers, this is a reality at her organization. Even though this reader isn’t a manager, she’s identified a solution that would “fix” the vast majority of the problems in her organization: REGULAR STAFF MEETINGS.
In her organization, there are no regular staff meetings. There’s no opportunity to collaborate as a team. The manager of the organization believes that the only time you need to talk to staff is when there’s a problem. She asked that I write a blog post explaining why regular staff meetings are important- so here it is! I hope her management reads it!
Reason #1: Staff Meetings Help Keep Everyone Informed
One of the frustrations my reader expressed, was sharing important information with her manager, only to find out that her manager didn’t pass the information along to others. When asked why, the manager said, “He’s not in on Mondays.” Staff meetings allow people to share information with everyone, face-to-face. They give everyone the chance to hear the same messages at the same time and give everyone a chance to participate. If you’re a leader or manager, make it a habit to solicit something from every single staff member. Another idea is to have the staff members rotate responsibility of running the meeting and setting the agenda.
Reason #2: Staff Meetings Are Vital for Problem Solving
How many times have you struggled to solve a problem, only to find out a coworker had already faced and fixed that same problem? Staff meetings provide an opportunity for people to share problems and concerns, to work with other key players to resolve them, and to share solutions they’ve already identified. Even if staff meetings were just problem-solving meetings, they’d save your organization a lot of time and repeat effort.
Reason #3: Staff Meetings Help You Achieve Goals and Ensure Everyone is Following Policies & Procedures
Staff meetings provide an opportunity to share organizational goals and ideas for achieving them. In my reader’s organization, there are no goals, thus, there’s no growth or improvement. Working together to set goals is a critical part of any organization’s success. Staff meetings are also a time to review policies and standard operating procedures. Are they working? Are they being followed? (in my reader’s case, the answer is no), Do they need to be modified, edited, or updated? Staff meetings are a great time to find out and discuss as a team.
Reason #4: Staff Meetings Play a Vital Role in Leadership
A regular staff meeting is a great opportunity for leaders to “rally the troops” and motivate staff through recognition and sharing opportunities. The manager in my reader’s organization who only calls staff in when there’s a problem, has set up a negative work environment. Additionally, when I only hear from my boss when I screw up, I assume, “no news is good news.” Unfortunately, in most instances, no news just means management doesn’t KNOW about problems . . . yet.
Reason #5: Staff Meetings Are an Opportunity to Provide Performance Feedback
At my reader’s organization, there’s a lot of griping, criticizing, and gossiping behind people’s backs. When there’s a problem, staff talks to everyone, including clients and volunteers, about problems EXCEPT the person with whom they have the problem. Set up correctly, feedback discussions within the team create opportunities to share issues and concerns directly with those involved and to work together to find solutions. Whether it’s performance improvement feedback or praising a job well done, direct feedback is the only way any of us know when we’ve done well and when we need to improve.
Reason #6: Staff Meetings Are Great Training Opportunities
Many people don’t take advantage of their regular staff gatherings as an opportunity for learning. Many of the most successful organizations I work with routinely bring in outside speakers or experts to discuss a key topic. They also take opportunities to have staff members train others how to do key tasks. Not only are these opportunities for everyone to learn new skills, but they help management understand the depth and level of staff’s existing skills.
Reason #7: Staff Meetings Provide an Opportunity to Innovate as a Team
Staff meetings don’t just have to be about problems, they can be about creating and innovating. Team members can share hopes, dreams, and suggestions, and the whole team can work together to discuss how to bring their ideas to fruition.
Reason #8: Staff Meetings Are a Chance to Bond and Celebrate
If nothing else, having a regular team meeting reminds everyone that they are in fact part of a team; that they’re not alone. Staff meetings are also an opportunity to celebrate personal and professional successes, and to have a little fun! This not only improves cohesion, but dedication to the team’s mission and each other.
If you need more information on how to plan for, conduct, and follow up after a meeting, be sure to read these previous blog posts on the subject:
Amy Castro is a workplace and leadership communication expert, speaker and trainer. She is also the author of Practical Communication- 25 Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Getting Along and Getting Things Done.