10 Types of Essential Work Meetings And Why They Matter
We’ve all been there: stuck in yet another painful work meeting that could have simply been an email.
Meetings have become such a frequent activity in the workplace that it’s easy to joke about why have them in the first place, especially if they’re virtually ineffective and a drain on time and energy. Since 2020, we have experienced a surge in our time spent in meetings. According to Small Business Trends, we now average around 4 meetings per day.
Choosing the right type of meeting and structuring it carefully can save precious time and ensures everyone is working towards the same goal in an innovative manner. Here are the 10 essential meetings you need in the workplace and how they can work for you.
An orientation meeting is one piece of a company’s onboarding procedures to help officially welcome a new employee to the team. This meeting can make a powerful first-day impression, so it needs to have a positive impact on the employee by being organized and informative, but not too overwhelming. According to Indeed, there are three main benefits of orientation meetings:
1. Boosts employee confidence
2. Improve long-term retention
3. Introduces new employees to a team’s expectations and company culture
Newly hired employees are likely feeling nervous on their first day and anxious to get started with their new responsibilities. An onboarding meeting can help reduce some of their stress and replace it with excitement about joining a team that is welcoming, thorough, and helpful. In order to cultivate a positive work environment with a thriving team that sticks around, the employees should feel like they’ve been taken care of from the beginning.
Performance Review Meetings
These meetings can nurture a supportive culture. Let’s first define a performance review.
A performance review is a written evaluation of an employee’s performance and is given on a quarterly or annual basis. A meeting is then scheduled to:
- Do a high-level overview of the evaluation
- Praise successful milestones
- Encourage the employee’s continued growth
- Address areas for improvement
- Get feedback on the level of support needed
- Review future goals
- Ask clarifying questions
- Have collaborative discussions about pending matters
Some companies favor the 30/60/90- day review periods (with an annual review) as a way to support new employees during their first year and make sure they’re on the right track. For managers, this means three performance-related meetings within the first three months.
Others opt for a more traditional annual performance review only, usually around the time of a fiscal year-end (May-July).
Performance reviews are opportunities to see how an employee is improving, which can create possibilities for promotion and advanced training.
Regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings are essential for manager-employee relationships and performance management. A Gallup study showed that out of 7,272 adults, 1 in 2 left their positions because of their boss, which was a direct result of poor communication.
A one-on-one meeting should not be a checklist of topics to go over with the employee. It must be an organized, yet organic conversation that supports the employee professionally and personally.
According to Quantum Workplace, 55% of highly engaged organizations said employees expect a monthly or quarterly check-in meeting. Establishing expectations on how often the check-in meetings will be, creating a structured agenda, and setting up a designated time for employees and managers is an important part of fostering a supportive environment. Consistent and productive communication can establish a healthy working relationship and gives the employee an opportunity to own their performance, which results in higher engagement. Every one-on-one meeting should follow a similar structure:
- Casual open – Employees are shown to have higher levels of engagement if their manager has shown interest in them as people, not just as work colleagues. (Source: Gallup) Try to open the meeting casually to build a connection.
- Relevant updates– Find a natural point in the conversation to begin discussing work-related updates about upcoming projects/events or status reports.
- Action items to Identify/discuss/solve – After relevant updates, continue with action items that have been identified as potential issues, engage in a collaborative discussion on possible solutions, and come to a decision together.
- Open discussion – Once all the action items for the meeting have been completed, open up the floor for questions or further comments before closing out the meeting.
The purpose of a Kick-Off meeting is to set the team up for success and establish structure. When the group is about to start a new project or implement a new process, it’s important to establish:
- Goals – What are the goals of this project? What do we want the end result to be?
- Roles and responsibilities – Does everyone have a task assigned to them?
- Timelines – Are we aligned on the vision for the project and when it’s supposed to be complete?
- Due dates – Do we have clear deliverable due dates for each assigned task?
- Methods of communication – Where do we communicate any updates, delays, or questions?
Without a Kick-Off meeting, there is more room for miscommunication, confusion, and setbacks in workflow and delivery.
An All-Hands Meeting, or otherwise known as a Townhall, gathers everyone from the organization to listen to their leadership speak about important updates. These work meetings should be scheduled regularly and only when leadership is sharing news company-wide. This is a chance to address several key areas:
- An inspiring welcome message that sets the tone for the rest of the meeting
- The current state of affairs including successes and challenges
- Celebration and recognition of different individuals and teams
- Updates on the future to remind the team of the vision and goals
- Q&A that invites everyone to ask questions
All-hands meetings create alignment within the organization, show that the leadership is thinking of the collective group, and build trust by being transparent.
A Retrospective meeting is typically held after major project implementation. In these meetings, the team has a chance to reflect on their success, the challenges that came up and identify areas for improvement. However, only 4% of companies measure and manage their documented processes per BP Trends.
The inability to perform this type of evaluation can stall a team’s creativity and effectiveness for future projects. This is an opportunity to improve processes so that over time, the changes are efficient and contribute to more successful outcomes.
A Retrospective meeting is another way to foster an employee’s growth by giving them an additional platform to provide their insights, experiences, and suggestions for the next project. It also acts as a way to keep the momentum flowing and properly see to the project’s completion.
Meetings specifically scheduled for problem-solving and brainstorming can produce innovative results. If conducted properly, the team will leave the meeting feeling energized, ready for the next steps, and feeling like a valued member of the process. Here’s why a brainstorming meeting is needed in the workplace:
- Inspires creativity and diverse ideas – Whenever the team needs new ways of approaching different issues or reinventing established processes, a brainstorming meeting will help trigger new ideas. To have a successful brainstorm, the team must identify, discuss, and solve the issue(s) at hand. Everyone should be prepared beforehand by having an agenda of the various topics for discussion. Expectations must be set at the beginning so that the participants feel like they have the room to contribute freely.
- Develops soft skills – Effective brainstorming meetings typically improve communication, teamwork, collaboration, leadership, and emotional intelligence skills. The more productive the meeting, the more opportunity there is to refine soft skills for everyone on the team.
- Improves morale – When a team is actively involved in the creation of new solutions, they feel appreciated and valued. This helps boost their overall morale, commitment to the organization, and results in high productivity as they are empowered to voice their ideas or concerns without repercussion.
Conflict-Resolution Work Meeting
There are two types of conflict-resolution meetings that help ensure operations continue to run smoothly even when disagreement arises.
- External conflict: These types of meetings are created to resolve any breakdown in communication or expectations with the clients the organization serves. This could involve a deeper look into existing processes, clarification of any related discussions, and ways to establish and implement the solution. It’s important that every participant comes into this meeting willing to solve the problem instead of focusing on where to place the blame.
- Interpersonal conflict: Conflict within the team is unavoidable, but structured meetings that are scheduled to address these issues are critical for a healthy workplace environment. Depending on the nature of the problem, there may be a need to involve the HR department or outside counsel for further guidance. However, if a manager feels comfortable facilitating the meeting and does not need HR intervention, the problem needs to be addressed quickly and professionally in order to avoid escalation and further tension, which can impact the rest of the team’s productivity. A constructive, non-accusatory discussion should be conducted in order to discover the root of the problem and the proposed next steps.
Professional growth is an important part of fostering a positive work environment, which means offering mandatory and specialized training meetings for the team. This not only prepares the employees for higher-level responsibilities but also exposes them to different skill sets. 74% of workers are willing to learn a new skill or be re-trained to remain highly competitive in the workplace, according to research done by Lorman.
Whether the organization is implementing a new system, service, or procedure, training meetings are a way of sharing knowledge and getting everyone up to speed. The different types of training are:
- Onboarding training – This is designed for new hires who need to have designated times for training with managers and coworkers. Usually, an agenda is in place to identify the trainer, any other relevant participants, and the objectives of the meeting.
- Procedural training – Any new procedures or changes to existing processes need to include the affected team members. This training allows for the team to effectively deliver on the implementation and streamline processes.
- Technical skills training – This training allows for employees to further develop their skills so they can do the essentials of their position and stay current on any new skills that need to advance in the role.
- Safety training – Crucial for any workplace, safety training must be available for everyone that joins an in-person team. This prepares them for any emergencies that may arise.
- Service/Product training – If the organization is offering a new service or product, it’s important to keep the team members up to date so they understand its features, benefits, and how to use it.
The exit meeting is just as important as the onboarding meeting. Exit meetings are normally conducted when an employee leaves an organization. This type of meeting is used to close out any existing matters, complete any necessary paperwork, and gain overall feedback about their time with the company.
Most places usually treat the exit meeting as a formality — something that needs to be checked off as part of the offboarding process or HR requirement. According to Harvard Business Review, 70.9% of companies have their HR department conduct the exit interview and about 19% are performed by their direct supervisor. The overall results of the survey suggested that almost all companies don’t do anything with the data collected from these exit interviews. In some cases, exit meetings aren’t even done at all!
Exit meetings can be a powerful tool in gaining insights into the inner workings of your workplace environment, the processes or procedures that worked (or not), and how they truly felt about working for you.
It’s not always a comfortable situation. In some cases, employees leave because of poor leadership, lack of work-life balance, an uneven workload, or unresolved problems with colleagues or managers. The feedback may not be positive, but here’s why it’s important to take your employee’s experience seriously and use that data to assess and improve the current procedures implemented in the workplace:
- Gain valuable feedback on the management team and staff as they currently operate.
- Learn about the competition that’s attracting your team to another organization.
- Gather insights on how to improve the current company culture.
- Learn about the inner-workplace conflict that needs to be swiftly resolved before it becomes a recurring issue.
- Avoid more turnover by listening to the real reasons why they’re leaving and how to improve existing procedures/behaviors.
- Notice the positive and negative patterns consistently brought up by employees so that leadership can address and strategize accordingly.
Exit meetings need to be treated with the utmost care. The right interviewer, detailed notes, and active listening are all major factors in conducting a highly effective exit meeting. Keep in mind that depending on the work culture, some employees may feel they can’t be honest during their last meeting due to potential backlash or repercussions for any prospective opportunities. Organizations who take their workplace culture seriously will create an environment that makes their employees feel safe and heard.
The Type of Work Meeting Makes All The Difference
Work meetings are an essential part of the workplace, and if structured correctly, can give birth to creativity and boost morale within the team.
Choose the meeting types that work best for your organization’s needs. So long as you use time wisely, the right type of meeting can help ensure high productivity for everyone on the team.