by Lawrence J. J. Leonard
Employees are thankful for recognition of a job well done. They are excited about their company when leadership makes headway in a market. They are turned off when required to attend meetings that drone on with finance jargon, operations budget percentages, or are hosted by facilitators who don’t follow the posted agenda.
It is not necessary to put pizzazz into a team meeting. A meeting can be regular while simultaneously efficient, consistent and valuable for each attendee.
Now Is The Best Time
We want everybody on the same page. Today. We want our administration support and front-line staff to understand that what they do every day affects our customers. Their focus on the customer reflects on our bottom line because it promotes loyalty to our brand.
Our middle managers and supervisors are also expected to be Corporate Mission Agents. They are supposed to be walking, talking brand cheerleaders. If there is a customer service issue, they are supposed to have been trained already to assist staff and comfort stakeholders by RESOLVING the issue immediately. Are our supervisors/ managers REQUIRED to present to leadership the resolution of customer issues and any pending problems? Hmmm.
Our organization’s leadership is expected to be Customer Champions. Naturally, the budget is important. Of course, safety is critical. By law, personnel records protection is essential. These are structural necessities. The same way a house may have a load-bearing wall to hold up the roof and central shelter elements to make it functional. None of these things can have value if there are no customers in our realms of influence.
Let’s Hold A Meeting
Employee/ Team meetings should be consistent on our calendars. They should be a time for sharing and be informative. We don’t need to call it a formal meeting. It should be mandatory that leadership attends. For some employees, just showing up is participation. We encourage respectful listening and camaraderie.
This is not the time for A BITCH SESSION where management singles out employees. If this happens, a review of HR policies should put those particular managers on notice.
Truly, for a scheduled team meeting to be worth our time, it should impart customer service knowledge. Or, we can always fail to plan. The rejoinder here is still true!
Are You A Regular?
Our employees want to be regular attendees of company meetings. Leadership should be active facilitators here and encourage employee networking, socializing and a bolstering of customer-focused training.
As Internal Customers, we EXPECT a regular meeting to have:
- Rules (Phone/ No Phones; Raise hands for questions; Notes allowed; Respect the speaker.)
- Purpose (An agenda AND a desired outcome.)
- Target time (Hard start AND hard stop interval.)
- Updates from the last meeting (Who did what and/or Who did not.)
- Action items + Follow-up (Name persons assigned the task. Send email to confirm.)
- Reminders (A summary of the meeting; Thankyous; Next meeting date.)
Employees who are given a free space to vent and applaud are more loyal to the company.
CAUTION – there is an unnatural familiarity with video and audio recordings. If the meetings share proprietary information, make it a rule NEVER to record or distribute meeting recordings. Proprietary information could be HR policy sharing, a complaint session, mediation of a conflict, even something as benign as a special surprise celebration. Recordings become part of a permanent record which can be flagged for archiving up to 10 years.
Usually a teleconference is different because they are directed in purpose. A CEO reporting on end-of-year results and taking shareholder questions is something we should record and post to our web.
If we want to improve the quality of service we offer our customers, we should host REGULARLY SCHEDULED MEETINGS to form strategies AND be accountable for professional development and process improvements. This is when Best Practices can form or begin to intensify.
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