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Why You Should Cancel Your Staff Meetings

by Henry Goldbeck, President of Goldbeck Recruiting Inc.

It’s Tuesday morning. Your team slowly fills the conference room, many of them gulping coffee to stay awake or sneaking glances at their phones. The meeting begins and you realize there is no agenda or real purpose. No one knows why they’re there. But there is a meeting because there has always been one on Tuesday mornings.

Sound familiar?

Meetings are an inevitable part of many jobs. There’s only one problem: most of them are disruptive and unnecessary. At Goldbeck Recruiting, we’ve scrapped the weekly meeting altogether.

Here’s why.

1. It could be an email.

If your entire meeting consists of “updates,” “recaps,” or “announcements,” you should really consider just writing an email. Productive meetings involve decision-making and planning. The only things on your agenda should be items that require a group decision such as “set product launch date” or “choose developer for website redesign.”

If there is no decision to be made, there shouldn’t be a meeting. Holding a meeting to share information is a waste of time and money.

When I realized that our staff meetings were merely recruiters updating each other on the status of job orders, I knew it was time to re-think our Tuesdays.

2. Meetings are expensive.

A one-hour meeting may not seem like a big deal. Even if it’s not completely productive, you only lose one hour of time, right?

Not necessarily.

If you have eight attendees per meeting, you are losing a total of eight company hours that could be spent on actual work. Assuming it’s a weekly meeting, you can multiply that by 52.

What if you had to physically write a cheque for each meeting held?

3. Meeting ≠ working.

Many consider meetings to be work, but they aren’t. Just because they take place at work, doesn’t mean anything actually gets done.

The majority of meetings are spent talking about work. And when you’re talking about work, you’re not doing work.

4. Ad-hoc meetings are better.

The best, most productive meetings are those that are called to resolve a specific issue.

As a small business owner, efficiency is crucial to my success. That means making the most of limited resources by only calling meetings when a specific need arises. With this rule in place, weeks can go by without a single team meeting in my calendar.

If there is a need for a meeting, I would send an email out ahead of time with key information and the agenda so that the meeting is spent solving the problem instead of describing it.

5. You don’t need to meet as often as you think.

If meetings are a must-have in your company, what if you have them every other week instead of every week? Not only will this re-allocate meeting hours to actual working hours, but it will also allow for less interruptions to productivity.

The least disruptive meetings are usually at the beginning or end of the day. In either case, find ways to leave your employees alone to be productive for long, uninterrupted stretches.

When I hear people complain that their oversupply of meetings is tanking their productivity, I’m not surprised. Meetings with specific goals and with the right people can be essential to kicking off a new product or addressing a campaign that’s gone south. But we have all been in ones that are a complete distraction from our work day. If these meetings are happening every week, it might be time to cancel some (or all) of them.

 

Henry Goldbeck is a certified personnel consultant with more than 30 years of recruiting experience. He is the President of Goldbeck Recruiting Inc., which is one of the leading recruitment firms in Western Canada. He founded the company almost 25 years ago and has since grown Goldbeck Recruiting into one of the most respected and trusted recruiting firms across Canada and internationally.

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