BY CHRISTINA DAVISIt’s Monday night just before 6 o’ clock, and everyone in the family is running around, tending to homework or housework, or walking through the door after a workout at the gym. But at the stroke of 6, we are downstairs in the family room, laughing and discussing our day, as Davis family meetings are held on the first Monday of every month. No one is nervous about the topics we discuss because they’re always the same: school, schedules, travel, sports, fun, issues, and ideas or suggestions.
We start with updates from everyone about how the past month has been regarding work, school, friends, and favorite sports teams. We share successes, discuss mistakes, and make plans for improvement. We each take turns so that we can congratulate each other for our wins and come together as a family to help turn those mistakes into learning opportunities.
Finally, we pull out the family calendar and ensure it is up to date so that everyone knows what’s coming up, which parent will be available for transportation purposes, and most importantly, which team LSU will be playing and when (because, let’s face it, that affects the family calendar).
How often do you meet with your work family to keep them updated? Does your fleet department know the goals of your reservations department? Has your desired growth been communicated to all staff? Do they know why you have hired three more full-time chauffeurs and an additional dispatcher? If not, there’s a chance they are jumping to their own conclusions because they don’t know about the RFP you just won.
Holding monthly staff meetings has a wealth of positive effects on a company, which includes creating a team environment, fostering an open culture, disseminating information, generating ideas, and having even fun. Just like families, when companies come together, they work better together.
Fun may be the single most important trait of a highly effective and successful organization." – Dave Hemsath
Well-run staff meetings should allow each employee to participate, whether through department or committee updates, sharing a client’s compliment, or simply by asking a question. In larger companies, having all employees involved may not be possible, so rotate those who deliver department updates. You can even have a different employee run the meeting each month. Just as family meetings most benefit everyone when each family member participates, your staff meetings will, too, when your non-management employees provide their input.
A productive staff meeting ensures that the goals of the company are presented: After all, aren’t the goals of the company the driving force behind the work that you do? Discussing if those goals were reached each month is also important. When goals haven’t been met, requesting input on ideas and suggestions for achieving them in the coming month is a great way to involve your staff. And by allowing all employees to take part in the discussions, you show that you value their opinion and ideas, which in turn motivates the entire team to become even more involved and produce higher quality work.
Holding monthly staff meetings also promotes accountability—for not only your staff, but also you. When you lay out goals presented with deadlines, accountability is monumental. If those deadlines aren’t met, discussing why they weren’t met, what obstacles that got in the way, and which balls that were dropped can create a reason for the team to come together and work harder toward reaching the missed goal. Likewise, spotlighting achievements tied to previously set goals communicates how well the team is working together for a common purpose.
And finally—FUN! Working hard together should include having fun together. “Work hard, play hard,” they say! True camaraderie comes in the moments of laughter, sharing personal interests and hobbies that are not related to the work environment, and simply relaxing with those you typically spend your most stressful hours with each week. Holding staff meetings in different locations each month can help break mental jams, which may also produce new and creative ways of tackling those hard-to-reach goals. Author Dave Hemsath says he “believes fun may be the single most important trait of a highly effective and successful organization. In fact, companies that adopt a fun-oriented culture have: lower levels of absenteeism, greater job satisfaction, less downtime, and increased employee loyalty.”
Periodic meetings are essential for employees to feel like valuable members of your team. Some of the benefits are obvious: goal-setting, recognition, and troubleshooting. Other benefits are more subtle: camaraderie, trust, and fun. At the Davis family meetings, after covering each family member’s upcoming events, practices, tests, travel, and calendar, we order the pizza, turn on the game, and enjoy each other’s company... while coaching the players and yelling at the refs from our couch as a team, of course! [CD1116]
Christina Davis is the HR Director for The LMC Group. She can be reached at email@example.com.