Love them or hate them, meetings are essential to running a business, particularly if you want that business to be successful. When run correctly, meetings empower both employers and employees by creating an environment that is conducive to open communication and idea development.
But how many meetings should you have? How frequently should you meet and for how long? Should all meetings follow a strict agenda? These are questions that most business owners and managers ask, and to be honest, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all guide. A company’s size, culture, and location of staff (i.e., multiple locations, remote workers, etc.) plays a huge role in how those questions are answered.
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Organizational differences aside, there are some monthly meetings that all business owners should consider putting on their calendar. Here are three of them.
1. The All Aboard
Communication and transparency are vital to a thriving company culture, which is indicative of happy and productive employees. A monthly (or even more frequent, depending on your needs) meeting with all staff members provides business leaders with an opportunity to transfer valuable company knowledge.
An All Aboard meeting lets business owners and their decision makers communicate strategies, initiatives, successes, and even failures with the staff. Of course, it’s possible this information could be disseminated in departmental meetings, but the full staff meeting also plays another vital role in your business: building relationships.
Just because employees all work in the same building, doesn’t mean they see or even know everyone. A group meeting, whether it be in a single room or a video conference, brings everyone together and conjures up notions of team work and unity. And though that may sound a bit too “hallmark” for some, successful business leaders recognize that sentiment as invaluable. When employees see themselves as part of a team, they are more likely to collaborate with each other and take pride in their contribution to the greater good.
This meeting isn’t necessarily one that is meant for open discussion across all fronts. Depending on the size of your team, a meeting like that can quickly turn into an all-day event. Instead, this meeting should stick to a clear agenda, with the onus of information falling on executive and departmental leaders.
2. The Departmental Meetings
While the All Aboard meeting may be great for keeping all employees informed and engaged, as mentioned above, it’s not conducive to really digging into strategy and gathering more valuable granular information about day-to-day operations, projects, and the needs and challenges that are specific to a department.
The departmental meeting does provide a stage for those concerns, and it can go a long way in keeping individual departments on track. Additionally, a departmental meeting is also a great place for strategizing and brains storming. An overview of the information shared during these meetings can also be used during the All Aboard meeting to provide insight and transparency from department to department.
While the All Aboard meeting requires a fairly firm structure, some may find that it can be a bit less rigid; however, it’s helpful to come prepared with an agenda, even if part of that agenda is dedicated to free flowing discussion and brainstorming.
3. One-on-One With Direct Reports
When the time dedicated to a one-on-one meeting is used wisely, this can be one of the most valuable meetings of the month. While your direct reports are likely present for the “All Aboard” meeting, they may not have the opportunity to really get down to the nitty gritty.
The private nature of a one-on-one meeting is perfect for mentoring and more detailed conversations, some of which can reveal current or potential problems within the department or specific to that employee.
Though it does help to have a loose agenda for this meeting, some business owners and managers find that a more relaxed approach is more fruitful, allowing the employee to drive the meeting with any pressing concerns or issues they may have.
Regardless of what structure you choose, there is one thing to keep in mind: don’t make turn the one-on-one into a performance review. There is a time and absolute place for that type of meeting, but the monthly one-on-one isn’t it. The employee should feel comfortable enough to provide vital insights, and a formal review can easily hinder that.
Communication plays a vital role in the success of a company, and monthly meetings offer the perfect way to make that communication regular and productive. Employers can use the information gathered to make well educated decisions about internal and external company initiatives, while employees can also use that information to guide their decisions and realize the importance of their role in the company.
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