Necessary vs. Unnecessary Meetings

Don’t waste time. Maximize efficiency. That’s part of your job description so you want to make sure you’re not doing anything counter-productive. While there are obvious things you should avoid (like filling the workplace with bouncy balls to brighten people’s day), there are also times when the things that seem like they’re helping can lead to an unnecessary waste of time.

Everyone loves using meetings as a way to reach all employees at once. However, you have to make sure you aren’t going stir crazy with them. Calling in a meeting to explain that the company is being sold and what that could mean for the current employees is acceptable, but you may want to think twice about calling everyone in to explain how to use the new phones. Chances are they work the same as any other phone. A better solution would be to send out a mass email with priority guidelines for using the phones and an invitation for anyone who doesn’t know how to use them to come in and ask you. That way you’ll waste a few minutes on a small percentage of employees instead of an hour on a larger group.

You have to do the math sometimes, figure how many man hours you stand to lose or gain by taking this or that road. While for newer HR professionals this may be an exercise in trial and error, more experienced employees shouldn’t find it too difficult to figure out.

Necessary meetings include large changes to the company, reminders about important organized events, info seminar on the use of a new complicated technology, etc. Meetings are okay along those lines because chances are a lot of people will have questions about the topics. Small things like birthday reminders belong in emails because people probably won’t respond to those en masse and flood your email.

While you are always thinking up new ways to improve employee effectiveness, remember that you have to always be increasing your effectiveness as well. If your methods aren’t working then the people upstairs will start to notice. The pathway to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say, so if something seems unnecessary then don’t be the eager beaver and try to get everyone involved. Putting in excessive effort in unnecessary areas actually deters efficiency, so pump the brakes every once in a while and cancel a meeting or two from the planner.

Do you ever take part in unnecessary meetings? Tell us about it below.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Victor1558

  • Rory Trotter

    Great post, Bane.

    It’s been my experience that the best meetings are those where a post meeting action plan has been put together by the meet organizer ahead of time.

    Typically, when an organizer does this (along with putting together pre-reads) they only end up holding meetings that actually generate value.

    As your post touches on, the impromptu meetings to address minor changes to the office environment or agenda are typically the ones with the least value added.

    Thanks for sharing this, and keep writing.

    Best,

    Rory