5 Rules for Scheduling Staff Meetings – Perils and Promise

August 4, 2021 | 216 views

5 Rules for Scheduling Staff Meetings – Perils and Promise
5 Rules for Scheduling Staff Meetings – Perils and Promise

Do you hear a collective groan from employees when you schedule a staff meeting? Employees hear “meeting” and think something important (and probably bad) must be shared with everyone simultaneously. This is especially true for unplanned and unexpected meetings, but even if staff meetings are regular and consistent, the response is not always positive.

It does not matter if a meeting is departmental, all-staff, or simply one-on-one—the reception from employees is not always warm. There are good reasons for this, though. To avoid it, promise a well-organized meeting to encourage good response and participation from employees.

To accomplish a positive response, follow these basic rules for any meeting to help ensure that your time and your employees’ time are productive.

  1. Evaluate necessity. First and foremost, be sure that a meeting is the best way to communicate what you need. Brainstorming and important news are best shared in person, but not everything requires that staff be removed from their projects. Sometimes, a phone call or email will suffice. If you are sharing updates, for example, an in-person meeting would be an unproductive use of time.
  2. Schedule considerately. It is rare to have emergency meetings, so avoid the perils of making every meeting feel like a crisis because you didn’t consider others’ time. Allow some notice and then send meeting invitations via email or text. If you have to arrange meetings with various employees who do not normally work the same hours, use your employee scheduling software to include notices on their mobile devices. Communication and respect create an environment that keeps meetings positive rather than being an imposition.
  3. Clarify the topic. Employees will naturally think something is wrong if you ask them to go to your office to talk to you. Instead, offer some contact. Let them know it’s about a new product release or an upcoming sale. Even a little bit of info will prompt questions and ideas—both good things for meetings. It prepares participants by giving them an idea of what to expect.
  4. Minimize attendees. Include only those who are necessary for the topic. Fewer voices make meetings go more quickly. Rather than feeling left out, most uninvited employees will be glad to stay on task with their own projects, so reduce the number of people if possible. Use just enough staff to be thorough.
  5. Share an Agenda. Assuming you have clarified the topic and have a clear objective for your meeting, share it with others ahead of time. Employees want to contribute, and we want that, too. So give them the basic plan and reason for the meeting (and their participation) so they are ready to give worthwhile input to the group. Agendas can change if needed to accomplish the goal, but be prepared with meeting topics and timeframes to ensure that everyone stays on task and dedicated to meeting efficiency.

Staff meetings run best when you are confident that they are necessary. Then, if you limit your collaborators and prepare each participant with details, you can develop a culture that understands the value of good, well-planned meetings. Plus, it promises fewer groans.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. For many years, Atlas Business Solutions has been named one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies.

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