We’ve all sat in staff meetings where we can’t help but wonder if it’s something that could’ve been covered in an email… It’s tough to keep employees engaged and motivated, especially with so many of us working remotely and meeting virtually. The good news is, not all team meetings are boring and redundant – some run really effectively, where staff members actively contribute to important conversations.
Staff meetings need to be people-focused, covering what matters most to the individuals attending. When you master a staff meeting, you’ll notice boosted morale, better communication, and more dynamic ideas being exchanged.
To help you revamp your sometimes dull staff meetings, Fellow has created a guide that takes you through what staff meetings are, why they matter, and 8 comprehensive tips that will help you engage your team members.
What is a staff meeting?
Staff meetings include all of the members on your team, and take place to discuss subjects which help with the smooth functioning of the organization. These meetings are a rare opportunity to have the whole group in the same room, at the same time. While they aren’t known for starting and ending on time, we promise it’s possible!
It’s an uncommon occasion to have different groups of people in the same room, who typically don’t have the time or capacity to sync up. Make sure you take advantage! This allows everyone to catch up to speed regarding what’s happening across other teams and departments, so that everyone can align on company-wide goals and gain a stronger understanding of their own contributions towards them.
In a recent article by the Harvard Business Review, Keith Ferrazzi, New York Times best-selling author of Who’s Got Your Back and Never Eat Alone and his newest book, Leading Without Authority explains:
“The staff meeting is one of the only times when all of the ‘players’ are together on the field. It’s also the one time the manager has total control of the agenda and can micro-coach the movements of the team, so that new muscle memories are built under her watchful eye. On a winning sports team, the coach certainly spends time with individual players, but also has group practices where the team runs plays with the coach, who sometimes gives the entire group advice, and sometimes singles out individuals. Coaches then do the same during actual games.”
We love a good sports analogy, and this one highlights the opportunity leaders have in staff meetings to coach each individual team member, while still bringing the collective together and inspiring them towards achieving larger, organizational goals.
The purpose of a staff meeting agenda
There are several purposes of a staff meeting agenda. It helps review how you and your team are tracking against goals, allows the team to share important updates on projects they’re working on, and bring up roadblocks, so that you can collectively come up with the best solutions.
They also provide a great opportunity to brainstorm ideas, projects or campaigns to help magnify their efforts.
Lastly, but certainly not least, a staff meeting agenda sets the perfect scene to give recognition to other team members who deserve some praise for their hard work.
Basically, staff meeting agendas keep everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction. A successful staff meeting agenda increases team accountability, team engagement and enables innovative problem solving. Once this becomes somewhat routine, you’ll start to notice a more productive and more engaged workforce, that people actually enjoy being a part of.
Staff meetings really are one of the most effective tools for team building, so why not take advantage?
Staff meeting agenda template
A staff meeting agenda is going to keep you focused, on-track and organized. Fellow has created a couple of staff meeting templates so that you can try them out and see just how effective a meeting template can be.
Your staff meeting agenda should include:
1. Team updates and announcements
3. A review of your key metrics and goals
4. Priorities for the week ahead
7. Action items
BONUS: Icebreakers or questions to get to know each other (especially if you’re working remotely)
8 Tips for effective staff meetings
1 Define your meeting goal
First and foremost, define what you’re trying to get out of the staff meeting. Make sure to collaboratively set this goal with your team. If you collectively decide what the best use of everyone’s time is, there’ll be much higher engagement, because people actually want to be there, to discuss what matters to them. In another article by the Harvard Business Review, Eric J. McNulty reinforces this idea, communicating:
“Agree on the purpose of the meeting. If some people think everyone has gathered to go through projects in detail while others are looking for top-level updates, they are all going to be unhappy.”
The purpose of this meeting is not to please everyone, but you may as well try to cater to most team members, right? The goal of the meeting should actually be communicated in the calendar invite. Your team should be able to read the title of the meeting and the description of the event and clearly understand the purpose of the meeting.
2 Prepare and reuse a meeting template
It’s smart to use a meeting template to give your staff meetings the structure that you’re looking for. Because you want to be as effective as possible with time, it’s a good idea to create and save your template to organize topics to speak about and to allocate a specific amount of time for each idea. This way, you don’t get off track and you use your time wisely, to only discuss the most important points.
Agenda templates also keep you really organized and allow you to fill in notes under each topic, essentially creating your own version of meeting notes that you can refer back to later, or share with a colleague who might have missed the meeting.
Use one of Fellow’s pre-built templates to save time and spark ideas for your next meeting.
3 Ask everyone to populate the agenda ahead of time
Get your meeting scheduled and detailed in advance. Then, a couple of days before your staff meeting, you should should start to ask for your team members’ input for your staff meeting agenda so that focuses on the team’s needs.
Communicating the intention and pre-sending the agenda will also help determine who should be at the meeting. If someone reads each agenda item and decides that they have nothing to contribute, consider giving them the option to opt-out of the meeting or attend for a specific portion. In a different article by the Harvard Business Review, Costas Andriopoulos, who is a Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Cass Business School in London and the co-author of the book Managing Change, Creativity and Innovation, shares:
“Based on the objective of the meeting, force yourself to limit the agenda to the items that are most crucial to you, your team and your business. To do this right, have some informal discussions beforehand with relevant colleagues to identify what is important to them. Then email the agenda — with a timeline that allocates a certain number of minutes to each item — to people well in advance, so that they come prepared. Once you’re in the meeting, stick to the agenda items and time schedule. This prevents participants from wandering off topic and helps the team to finish the meeting on time.”
4 Create an inclusive environment
In order to create and promote an inclusive work environment, there not only needs to be diversity in backgrounds and ethnicities but a diversity of thought as well. Highly inclusive leaders are cognizant to bias so that they can support a workforce that has differing approaches, views and opinions to strengthen the team and demonstrate inclusive behaviour.
In embracing the idea that everyone should be valued (and that there are no wrong ideas), you are going to inspire your team to speak up, creating an environment where everyone feels welcome to contribute.
Showcase your inclusiveness at every staff meeting by empowering the quieter employees to write down their thoughts before the meeting, and encouraging authenticity and collaboration.
5 Rotate the roles of notetaker and timekeeper
Assign and rotate the roles of notetaker and timekeeper between all the attendees for your recurring staff meeting. This will help you get everyone involved and invested in the success of the meeting. It is going to engage your employees when they are given specific responsibilities to fulfil and it gives each team member a great opportunity to learn from each other, in terms of how they take on different roles in the meeting.
6 Discuss priorities and goals for the upcoming week
Spending time on collaboratively setting some goals for the week ahead is an important part of staff meetings. This is a great opportunity to brainstorm with the entire group and see what your team members feel should be prioritized in the upcoming week.
Meeting objectives become much more difficult if team members do not feel as if others in the group are supporting one another in attaining team goals. Without this support from you and other teammates, the efficiency and effectiveness of meeting organizational goals is hugely hindered. Work together to come to a collective objective and then attain it together.
7 Assign next steps
Think about what needs to be done before next week. Prioritize the tasks that need to be completed and then assign them to specific individuals who can own these responsibilities. By assigning these responsibilities in a staff meeting, it’s going to help you hold each other accountable. It’s also going to encourage you to support one another.
Let’s say you know that one of your colleagues has a million things on her plate but you still have some capacity. You’ll certainly feel more inclined to offer some help if you’re aware of the amount of responsibility she is owning this week. Assigning meeting action items is also going to keep you organized and on top of your daily tasks.
Know who is doing what, by when
Communication and accountability are at the heart of high-performing remote teams. Fellow provides one single source of truth for all your meeting action items, so everyone stays accountable and connected, even when you’re working remotely.
8 Seek feedback on how to improve your staff meetings
If you want to help your team thrive, you need to create a culture where giving, receiving, and implementing feedback is part of the DNA. The good news is that you can start with your meetings!
Asking for meeting feedback can help you understand if people are finding your staff meetings valuable, and if there’s anything you can do to improve the experience for different members of the team.
Some questions you can ask include:
– Should this meeting be shorter?
– Do you like the cadence/frequency of these meetings?
– Is there anything we could do to make the most of this time?
Collaborating with your team (even when it’s virtually) gives you the opportunity to gain their insights and feedback so that you can find different ways to facilitate staff meetings in the most efficient way possible, as you and your organization continue to learn and adapt to specific circumstances. Take advantage of the current tools and technologies available to give and receive feedback openly and effectively.
There’s always room to improve staff meetings and this guide serves to steer you towards those improvements. Start by determining if your staff meeting is necessary and if it’ll be a strong use of everyone’s time. If you know your staff meeting is a must, remember these 8 useful tips and these questions that you should ask yourself:
1. Define your meeting goal: What is the purpose of the staff meeting?
2. Prepare and reuse a meeting template: Can we structure these recurring conversations?
3. Ask everyone to populate the agenda ahead of time: Have team members contributed to the agenda?
4. Create an inclusive environment: Does everyone feel comfortable to share their ideas and opinions?
5. Rotate the roles of notetaker and timekeeper: Are responsibilities being shared?
6. Set priorities and goals for the upcoming week: Who is in charge of what?
7. Assign next steps: What do we need to prioritize before the next meeting?
8. Seek feedback on how to improve your staff meetings: Has the team given feedback on how to improve these meetings?
Don’t forget to use our staff meeting agenda template to stay organized, focused and so that you don’t miss a beat in your meeting. There’s no better feeling than walking out of (or logging out of) a meeting feeling like it was a good use of your time. That feeling of accomplishment is totally possible with staff meetings, if you put some time and care into making them valuable for everyone.
Be sure to check back in with us soon for more content on management, leadership, or productivity. Until next time!
– From your friends at Fellow.