Many people feel weekly meetings are important for getting work done. This is true if the purpose of the meeting is to accomplish work by collaboration and participation. Collaboration means working together cooperatively. Participation occurs when everyone is sharing ideas, helping to solve problems, and taking outside work assignments.
However, many weekly staff meetings become status briefings. Briefings come from each attendee, who merely reports on what they have done in the past week or will be doing in the upcoming Meeting Room Equipment week. Sometimes an issue may be shared, but may not be followed with a request for aid from the group. Status meetings have their place in business, but sometimes they can cost the company more than they benefit the attendees. Below is a quick look at what a one hour meeting might cost and some alternatives a manager may choose from in order to reduce meeting costs, while maintaining or improving the business benefit received each week.
1. Keep things the same with an hour long weekly face-to-face group meeting.
– COST: Assuming the meeting is called by the manager at his location and he has six project managers in attendance and all seven makes approximately $28 an hour, the cost of the meeting time is $196. Now the meeting has additional cost related to travel to the meeting room because none of the project managers work at the same location as the manager. To get to and from the meeting, three have to drive 30 minutes and the others have at least an hour of travel each direction. That adds $252 in travel time to the meeting cost for a total cost of $448. If travel mileage is reimbursed then the total cost goes up even more.
– BENEFIT: If the meeting becomes participatory, where work is accomplished during the meeting, then the time may be a good investment. However, if the meeting continues to only be briefings, then this could be a business loss since the attendees could have spent the time meeting customers to increase revenue or working on their projects to improve the business and meet deadlines.
– IMPROVEMENT: If the meetings have some benefit and are to remain at the same time, then changing the meeting to where they are more beneficial needs to occur. Meetings that are participative typically provide a higher benefit than those that are strictly briefings or presentations that are for information sharing only. To change the meetings from briefings to participative sessions will require a mindset change. This may take time to motivate the attendees to work together in a safe environment where they feel valued and recognize the importance of helping each other and improving the business. Group meetings are a wonderful opportunity to share achievements, but should not be used for reprimanding individuals as this makes them feel bad in front of their co-workers.