No, it’s not that they were shorter, or that so-and-so would shut up … or even that they’d be eliminated all together!
Rather, folks picked peeves that were not only correctable but could actually improve the quality of meetings. According to a recent survey, employees wanted more of three things:
- tangible outcomes, and
- post-meeting follow-up.
Here’s how you can work more of these into Finance’s touchbases or even inject them into meetings where you simply have a seat at the table to make this workplace mainstay more bearable for everyone.
Improvement 1: More accountability
If you’re going to take the time out of an already-busy workday to attend the meeting, you hope that every participant holds up his or her end of the deal. And many staffers feel the same way.
Which makes fewer things more frustrating than participants who show up unprepared – or a meeting leader who lets them off the hook.
You want to take extra lengths to be sure people understand what will be expected of them and realize that if they don’t hold up their end of the deal that there’ll be consequences. You may even have to be prepared to postpone the meeting if it’s not going to be productive enough.
That sends the message you respect all participants’ time.
Of course set them up for success in the first place: make it clear what’s expected of everyone attending, including a touch base just before the meeting to make sure everyone’s good to go. Same people coming up short again and again? You’ll want to address it ASAP.
Improvement 2: More tangible outcomes
And if every participant has done his or her part before the meeting, the odds are better you’ll make more progress toward the second item on employee wish lists: That tangible outcomes will result.
True, not every meeting will adjourn with a resolved issue. But you want to work so that each meeting does close with something concrete accomplished.
That may simply come down to how you frame it. Make sure at the close of every finance meeting you emphasize just what’s gotten accomplished, even if it’s just forging good will with another key department.
A small step like that will help people feel like your meeting was worth their time.
Improvement 3: More post-meeting follow-up
That extends long after the conference room clears, too.
Many people say things like “Good point – I’ll have to look into that and get back to you.” That’s probably even happened to you. But how often do people actually receive the follow-up they’re promised? Not as often as many people would like.
If you’re on the promising end of the equation, make a note and set yourself a timetable for follow up … even if it’s just to say you’re still working on an answer (like you would with a phone call).
And when there are major issues or action steps to come out of a meeting, let the entire group know when they’ll be getting an update from you or another team member.