When I worked for the courts, my supervisors held monthly staff meetings to go over any new policies and procedures that had been implemented, provide clarification on issues that had arisen, or address any situations that would have an effect on the office as a whole. However, I also know people who work for companies that have staff meetings daily. And I mean a lot of staff meetings—like three or four or five. Who is right? It depends on who you ask.
For instance, an article published by Psychology Today shares the ridiculous amount of time employees typically lose by constantly preparing for and sitting in meetings. In fact, some of the studies the author highlighted put this time at 25, 30, or 50 percent of the work days. Others came to the conclusion “that the average worker actually worked only three days per week…[and] the rest of the working time was ‘wasted,’ with unproductive meetings heading the list.”
Researchers Steven Rogelberg and Larissa Barber from the University of North Carolina apparently agree. In an interview with the Society for Human Resource Management, they discussed the cost of having excessive amounts of meetings, citing Xerox as an example and indicating that in one year alone, this company spent over $100 million on meeting-related costs.
Others, like 99U contributor Matthew May, suggest that having more meetings does offer some benefits, as long as there are a few guidelines regarding length and purpose of the meetings. He came to this conclusion while he was working with Toyota when he noticed that their employees often met several times a day to go over project details or to make decisions. As long as the meetings were short and added value, May indicated that they could be well worth the couple of minutes out of the employees’ days to attend them.
So where do you fall and how often should you be holding staff meetings at your small business? Here are a handful of questions you can ask yourself to determine the right answer for you:
- Are the issues you want to handle ones that need to be handled in person, or would they be received the same if simply issued in an email or memo, negating the need for a meeting?
- Do the issues you want to go over require conversation or input from your team (needing a meeting), or are they more informational in nature (not necessarily requiring a meeting to disseminate them)?
- How spread out are your employees? In other words, will it be fairly easy for them to attend the meetings or will they have to leave their posts for extended periods of time to appear in person? (Coverage of particular positions may be an issue that you need to consider to ensure that your meetings aren’t interfering with your ability to serve your customers.)
- How many topics do you have to cover? Do you just need to go over one or two items, or do you have 9 or 10 on your list? Sometimes there’s value in waiting until you have enough items to justify a meeting, but other times a quick meeting more frequently helps you keep them shorter in time.
- How important are the topics you intend to discuss at the meeting? Are they critical and require immediate attention or could they realistically wait as they have no major impact on your current day to day business? Of course, critical information may require more frequent meetings, but if it is fairly inconsequential in nature, then you might be better holding off.
There really is no right or wrong answer here, it is all about figuring out what works best for you. These are just some questions that can help you determine that.
What’s your thoughts on how often staff meetings should be held? Leave your comments below!
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