Christine McDade is a Human Resources professional (PHR & SHRM-CP) with over 20 years in the public sector.
Why Are Regular Staff Meetings Beneficial?
Holding regularly scheduled staff meetings with employees in the workplace will greatly enhance the communication efforts that make up the foundation of any workgroup. Employees who can count on consistently meeting with fellow co-workers and managers will feel more ownership of the work they do because of the frequent opportunity to communicate with one another at these meetings.
Furthermore, these employees will feel a sense of trust for their leadership because they are included in planning and other processes that make the workplace a better place to be for all. Since employees spend a great deal of their lives at work, it is important to make them feel that they are a part of the success of an organization as it meets its strategic goals.
Effective Communication for Managers and Employees
Staff meetings allow employees to be a part of the decision-making process of an organization by communicate their opinions, ideas, etc., in a structured yet commonly accepted forum. While final authority and decision-making belong to the leadership of an organization, leaders often reach out to their employees for their valuable input.
Managers who utilize these meetings as communication tools open up a great opportunity for employees to share their workday experiences with one another. Some common characteristics of an effective staff meeting are as follows.
Characteristics of Successful Team Meetings
- A Regular Schedule: To truly be an effective means for communicating information and gathering input from employees, staff meetings should be scheduled ahead of time to allow employees to anticipate them and to plan accordingly with the rest of their schedule/calendar. Employees who can count on these meetings to occur regularly will see them as opportunities to share information with others on a consistent basis.
- A Timely Start: If managers want their employees to show up to a meeting on time, they need to set the example of arriving to the meeting on time as well. Furthermore, the start of the meeting should be as scheduled so that tardy attendees will know that they must make an effort not to be late for the next meeting. As a manager leading the meeting, being prompt and starting the meeting on time will demonstrate how important the manager feels the meeting is.
- A Prepared Agenda: Since employees are likely to have information to share, it is helpful to have an agenda prepared to keep some structure and order to the meeting. It is easy to get off track when employees are offering up information that may be somewhat unrelated to the prepared agenda. Agendas also serve as handy records that a supervisor can go back and look at to determine if certain topics have been covered.
- Mandatory Attendance: A regularly scheduled staff meeting, which is conducted to share and gather important workplace information, should typically have a mandatory attendance requirement for staff. Employees need to be a part of this communication "think tank," as it is only effective if all are there to listen to the discussion and offer their unique insight about the topics discussed. Permission to skip a staff meeting for another work commitment should be the exception rather than a commonplace occurrence.
- Professionalism: Since personal opinions and insights will be shared in staff meetings, it is crucial to have a manager monitor the meeting as others are speaking to ensure all discussion remains professional and respectful. Employees often save certain topics for open discussion at a staff meeting. These folks might feel very passionately about their opinion and get their feelings hurt or become defensive when others share a different opinion. It is very important for the leadership at the table to keep everyone professional by reminding them that everyone has an opinion and we should respect their opportunity to speak to their coworkers in such a forum. If there is no control at a staff meeting in this regard, stronger personalities will outspeak others, and this could result in some employees feeling reluctant to actively participate in the future.
- A Need to Cancel Staff Meetings: Managers may have occasion to cancel a meeting due to their own unavoidable scheduling issues or there being no real issues requiring staff input at that time. Since it is not effective to have a meeting just for the sake of having a meeting, canceling the meeting is wise because employees will appreciate the freeing up of the time on their schedule to do other work. It may be prudent to send out an email to let employees know that they are welcome to speak to the manager one-on-one should they have any unresolved issues they need to discuss. Permission to speak to the manager or promoting an "Open Door Policy" after a staff meeting has been unexpectedly cancelled will let the employee know that they do not have to wait until the next meeting to discuss something of importance to them.
Staff meetings that embody these characteristics will produce effective results that will benefit the organization and all who work hard to make it successful.
Use Meetings to Discuss Ongoing Issues
A regularly held staff meeting creates a forum for consistent discussion of any ongoing or new disagreements or interpersonal issues that may occur between individuals who interact with one another on a regular basis. If one considers how much of their day, and therefore, their life, is spent at work, it is not surprising that interpersonal situations can arise because of generational differences, values, and overall life experiences.
The fact is that everyone comes to work with their own "baggage" of sorts that makes up who they really are. A regularly scheduled meeting with co-workers allows a planned and therefore dependable opportunity to hash out problems before they become crisis situations.
The working relationship is like any other personal relationship—it needs sufficient opportunity to solve problems that might prevent work from being done and goals being met by the organization. When relationships are "divided" and continue to fester without leadership intervention, significant workplace disruptions may occur as various teams or sides challenge one another for dominance about a particular viewpoint.
Communication Is Key
Taking advantage of all opportunities to communicate with one another in the workplace is the key to the professional success of employees and their leadership. When staff meetings are conducted regularly, professionally, and in a manner that encourages all attendees to actively participate, an organization can reap the benefits of having a solid work team where trust is earned through productive interaction. The sharing of information among the people who make an organization meet its goals and objectives creates a more harmonious environment for all.
Eddie Nichols on April 12, 2018:
I can't thank you enough,
The information in the following article very useful,
I can now see all the short comings in the department where I work,
Planning on having a one and one discussion with my manager.
Christine McDade (author) from Southwest Florida on October 03, 2016:
I hope all employees in your workplace are given the opportunity to contribute with new ideas and constructive feedback. You are the future of that organization. All employees play an important role in making the work culture inclusive and engaging which ultimately leads to success. Hang in there.
Letscommunicate on September 28, 2016:
Very useful information. Reading this article makes me realize that the company I work for clearly lacks communication. The upper management defines and dictates procedures, guidelines, etc. One could say that it is a 21 st century company governed by early 20th century leaders. Young employees can often be seen as agitators.
If only our senior managers read this...
Many thanks again.
McKenna Meyers on June 18, 2015:
I hope employers who lead staff meetings read this and get some valuable tips. Too often staff meetings are a waste of time because the information could have been contained in an email. The discussion of relevant issues is most important and the community building. Most of my co-workers I never see but at a staff meeting!
John on July 03, 2014:
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Christine McDade (author) from Southwest Florida on October 13, 2012:
Thanks. Staff meetings themselves seem like a common occurrence but they can serve great purpose.
Rhonda Humphreys from Michigan on October 13, 2012:
Great information. Voted up and useful