How important are staff meetings?

Q. How important is it to have regular, mandatory staff meetings—and how can I get my staff to accept them without griping? When I try to schedule one at my store, someone always has a problem—“It’s my day off and I don’t want to drive over” or it conflicts with someone’s childcare.

A. Regular staff meetings are essential, says Kate Peterson, president of Performance Concepts, a consulting firm in Canton, Ohio. She advises mandatory, weekly meetings of at least 40 minutes.

Staff meetings allow you to share information and training with all staff, which will improve the customer’s experience in your store.

If done well, they can also be great for building morale—and sales. Use your marketing skills to break out of the stereotypical business meeting: the boring, dry presentation of information.

Staff meetings can also help you identify small problems before they become large—or identify good ideas earlier rather than later. The best meetings involve two-way communication, so ask your staff about their concerns and ideas, and about what they have heard from customers.

However, do not let meetings turn into gripe sessions. Each meeting should be a learning experience.

Plan your meetings to make them more effective and lively. Over the course of a year, you might cover issues such as workplace safety, treating customer data with care, and your business’s plan in case of an emergency (theft, fire, power outage, etc.).

To make meeting times more fair and less of a burden to employees, have the group give you input about the best day and time for meetings. If choosing the same day and time means that one or more people have to come in on their day off routinely, rotate the day each week so that everyone has to take a turn coming in on a day off.

Pay people for their time. Feeding them is a good idea as well—and might help make the event more “social” and not such a burden.


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