Meetings are essential to bringing diverse minds together to discuss issues of importance and decide on the future course of action. Even as the time spent on meetings has increased with remote and work-from-home models, the quality has dropped. Time spent on meetings has increased by 8% to 10% since 2000, with 40% of the meeting lasting 30 minutes and beyond. According to a study, 45% of the employees complained that meetings wasted their time at work, with 47% of employees getting overwhelmed with the number of meetings they attended. Team meetings are becoming ineffective and costly to the organisation. The poorly organised meetings cost companies in the US $399 billion.
The most common type of meetings are team meetings, followed in popularity by weekly project meetings. Eighty-nine percent of respondents attend team meetings, with 77% attending weekly project meetings.
Some common challenges with team meetings are time management, lack of preparation, going off topic, and no clear takeaways. Ineffective team meetings can be detrimental to the company, not just internally but externally as well. The consequences of ineffective meetings are confusion due to lack of clear direction, not enough time for employees to do the rest of their work, and inefficient processes negatively impacting client relationships, leading to overall poor employee engagement.
Great team meetings can be a driving force for employee engagement and collaboration. The characteristics of great team meetings are clear purpose, defined agenda, focussed discussion, active collaboration and employee engagement. One of the important tools to ensure effective team meetings is sharing feedback. You should take feedback from meeting participants and follow a process of continuous improvements.
You need to have creative ideas to increase employee engagement in team meetings. Some creative team meeting ideas are as follows:
- Set a clear agenda
Before the meeting takes place, create an agenda and circulate it among the participants. The meeting agenda gives a clear purpose and direction to the team meeting, helping participants to stay focussed during the meeting. This leads to better outcomes. A productive team meeting helps increase employee engagement, leading to higher participation. This in turn prevents meeting delays or absent employees.
- Start the team meeting with a team-building activity
A team-building activity helps in breaking the ice and increases collaboration among employees. The positive effects of team-building activities are better communication, interpersonal relations, and higher employee engagement. It improves the ability to work together in challenging circumstances. Team building activities also help develop the problem-solving skills of individuals and improve the organization’s overall competitiveness.
- Share a recent customer win or story
It is always good to start a meeting on a positive note. You could talk about customer success stories or any recent deal wins. The positivity rubs off on the employees, lightening the mood and increasing their morale.
You can share how employees helped customers solve challenging problems to run their business even in difficult times. You should highlight the contribution of team members that helped clients and show the organization positively. Alternatively, you can also mention any recent customer wins where employees came together and worked round the clock to ensure that the company didn’t have their strategic account.
When you start the meeting on a positive note and praise employees, they feel valued and their self-esteem increases. There is a clear sign of a positive relationship between employee self-esteem and performance. An environment with positive energy and a motivated team leads to higher employee engagement.
- Use small talk
The initial moments in a meeting are crucial that sets the tone for the rest of the session. Every participant will be in a different state of mind coming off from performing their regular work, so getting everyone on the same page is important. You can engage in an informal talk or small talk at the beginning to let go of any work-related stress or meeting anxiety that your employees might be having. You can use other icebreakers to unwind after work or during weekends, such as what each member has planned for the weekend. This will help everyone to loosen up and share a laugh, leading to higher employee engagement.
- Rotate facilitators or meeting leaders
As a manager, you consider your responsibility to lead during every team meeting which can be daunting for you and has become a routine activity for others. You can delegate the task of leading a team to other members within your team on a rotational basis. This will enable you to test out the leadership qualities in them and bring dynamism by breaking the pattern.
When you delegate the team meeting leadership to others, then the ownership responsibilities will make your team more responsible and they will better recognize the value of meetings, leading to greater employee engagement. The role reversal will also offer you an opportunity to get new perspectives that will help you hone your leadership skills, and the insights will be helpful in making team meetings more productive and useful.
- Ask for opinion and feedback
During team meetings, encourage every member to share their opinion freely. Every employee should be given a chance to put forward their ideas towards the topic of discussion. This will make members more attentive and enhance overall employee engagement. The diversity of ideas and thoughts will help improve the meeting outcome and also foster team unity, further increasing mutual understanding and trust.
You should also include a process to take feedback from members about the meetings and ways to improve the same. This does not occur regularly but is important and should be an integral part of the team meeting process.
- Dedicate a time for shout-outs
A shout-out allows you and your team members to give each other positive recognition, creating a culture of trust with peer-to-peer recognition. The acknowledgement of individual contributions in a team meeting motivates your employees and keeps them engaged.
According to a survey, 86% of people believe that employee recognition increases their happiness, leading to better engagement at work. Shout-outs during team meetings are thus a formal opportunity for employees to recognise their peers, build stronger team morale, encourage collaboration and employee bonding, and strengthen company culture.
- Change meetings locations
When conducted at the same location, meetings become monotonous and drain the employees. The familiarity of the place and routine activities let the boredom set in. This may lead to employees skipping a session or diminishing their interest.
The best alternative is to change locations after very few meetings and even organize the outside with fun activities. The change in the meeting environment will bring an element of freshness and enliven the team’s mood, resulting in productive meetings.
- Invite guest speakers
You can invite guest speakers to add value to your team meetings. The guest speakers can be an expert from your industry or functional area relevant to your employees. The guest speakers will provide a new perspective that will help increase employee engagement and also improve your team’s knowledge and skills. The guest speakers can be from outside the organization and from a different department within the company that may be relevant to your area of work. An accomplished personality that is not a regular in your team meetings is bound to attract attention and increase employee engagement.
- Change meeting formats
To avoid monotony and encourage creativity, you can experiment with meeting formats and alternate between different ones. Instead of having one set template for the meeting, you could try out a dynamic format, and transition from a lecture-like model to an open discussion or Q&A session. You can also include open sessions where employees are free to suggest topics for discussion that may not necessarily be work-related.
These are many creative ideas that you can try out for team meetings. These can aid you in creating an environment that enhances employee engagement. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather an indication that you can add based on your requirements. If you are looking for strategies to enhance employee engagement and make your team meetings more productive, contact us to learn more.