Do you know how many browser games your staff is playing? You may have key personnel so bored in that standing meeting that they’re doing an open-eyed lecture hall doze. Meetings are often looked upon as a necessary evil, but well run meetings can be therapeutic for stressed professionals, who are disengaged from their workplaces and coworkers in distressing numbers, according to a Gallup poll. That these workers comprise some of the most highly educated and experienced workers in the payroll should be a sign to put the common wisdom of human resources into the dumpster and rethink how employees engage with management and how they can feel more engaged and satisfied with their work and working environment.
Getting Rid of the Cube Farm Mentality
The first step in opening up the workplace and re-engaging staff is to rethinking the fallacy that more meetings are a good thing. Don’t think that people don’t value meetings, they do! However, when a Verizon whitepaper puts the average number of meetings a busy professional at 60 per month, there’s something wrong with that. Revising your meeting schedule is not going to go over well with some people in your organization is not going to go over well. There are managers and executives in any organization who call meetings just so that they can feel important, and from the feeling that sound and motion are indicative of progress. However, to carry the sound and motion analogy a little further, in the case of swimming, sound and motion can also be indicative of drowning as well as swimming, but the two activities are nothing alike.
Meetings need to serve a purpose that can’t otherwise be covered by an email blast, a phone call, or even a face-to-face in the break room over donuts and coffee. Meetings also need to take into account the disruptions to workflow caused by even a small meeting held by people who work in the same office, much less those who might be working in different time zones, reporting from a remote location where work is ongoing, or even on another continent. Getting your teams together wherever they with a cloud based app like BlueJeans that can cover a room or just a single person on their smartphone is a flexible, scalable way to make sure that everyone’s included. Team collaboration with BlueJeans is easy, and can be fun, especially when used by team members to communicate on a regular basis, share content in app, and even brainstorm face to face from anywhere. All this and no IT guy needed!
Face Time Needed
Giving your staff the face to face meeting time they need is one way to increase engagement and revive a sense of purpose and even enthusiasm from a creative process that has become less about creative and more about process. Businesses need to keep the new blood and wise heads engaged in a competitive business environment, with room for creativity, valuable input, and participation. While a lot of day-to-day operations can be handled with emails and phone calls, there are times when you need a face in front of you. A Gigaom study showed that 87 percent of videoconferencing feel more connected and involved with their teams, their projects, and the processes. For burned out employees, putting meetings in the hands of someone who knows how to run one can be a therapeutic experience, even if they’re not in the actual room.
In time, and with use, team members will find that using video for conferences, meetings, and symposiums feels natural, and is no more an interruption to their work flow than a trip to the coffee house on lunch hour. Talking to one another singly or in groups is easy when you don’t need Bill from IT to set up and manage every meeting, and cloud based video conferencing apps are secure enough to share even sensitive content. It’s the age of big data, and also the age of some very big data hacks, so be sure that you pick a secure application, as well as one that is easy to use.
It’s the 2000s
A lot of the so-called “classic management” is to blame for employee disengagement. Instead of being results focused, the HR process and policies have come to take center stage and in some cases brew a toxic environment where nobody’s happy. Classic management is not diverse, does not reward creativity, and can lock out some people who have tremendous abilities to offer any company. This outmoded, micromanaged, bottom-line style is stacked against your staff. If, instead, you can think about HR as your talent office, and your staff as your talent pool, you might just find that you have some real star power hanging around the coffee pot some morning.