Are your staff meetings an effective use of time that leave the team brimming with ideas and confident about next steps and targets, or just a blip in the diary where you go through the motions and nothing really progresses?
Simon Shaw is co-founder and past director of international award-winning salon group, Haringtons. He’s spent 44 years in the industry and over 35 years creating salon culture, focusing on developing people and providing top customer service. A source of creative leadership with a proven talent coaching both teams and individuals to success, he passionately believes that people are key to every successful business.
Simon has written previously for us on motivation, and here he shares his tips for making the most of your staff meetings.
In his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ Stephen Covey says, ‘’begin with the end in mind.’’ I think this is perfect when putting together a team meeting; you have to decide what you want to achieve. You are investing time and energy and as with every business decision you would expect a return on that investment. So, what can you do?
1. The key to running an effective meeting is planning, and I don’t mean a few notes 10 minutes before you start. Plan the meetings 6 months ahead so that every team member has them in their diary. Make attendance part of the employee’s contract of employment. Plan the structure of the meeting ,so if you want to discuss the figures for example, plan this into the agenda for each meeting. Decide on the length of the meeting and stick to it, always start and finish on time.
2. You are the leader of the meeting and you set the agenda, but it doesn’t mean you have to take a dictatorial approach; in fact it’s a good idea to have different people present different areas, but never forget that it is your meeting. Your body language tells a story, even if you don’t feel confident inside you can send the right messages by having an upright, grounded, balanced posture and making direct eye contact.
3. Decide what the meeting is for; is it to pass on information, for example, results, new products etc. Is it for training? Or is it motivational? Or is it to tell everyone off?!
4. I don’t recommend giving negative feedback in a team meeting; this should be done on a one to one basis. If somebody becomes extremely disruptive during the meeting, I would ask them to leave and then speak to them separately. Be careful about getting into a public debate and creating a culture where people see it as a time to moan about things that aren’t working in the salon. Be very specific in saying feedback is acceptable, but moaning isn’t. One of the ways of doing this is to make it a rule that if you highlight a problem, you must offer at least one solution to that problem.
5. In my experience mornings are the best time for meetings; I would suggest using some of the salon’s time and some of the employees’ time – with this approach both parties have an investment in the meeting. I would also recommend 3 shorter 20-minute meetings and one longer 45-minute meeting a month. Inevitably some team members will not be able to attend, one of the ways around this is to get an attendee to tell them about the meeting, another way is to make notes, type them up and post them on the staff room wall.
6. Make the meeting interesting for them in 2 ways: firstly, always remember human nature will say “what’s in it for me”, so why are they going to benefit from being at the meeting? It has to be relevant to them being able to either earn more money, or be more fulfilled at work. The second is to be constantly looking at and researching different ideas. Mix the meetings up, have some informative and some with slightly unusual but relevant ideas, one idea is to bring in an expert in posture and teach the team how to stand and bend correctly. Get the team to come up with ideas for things they’d like to cover at meetings.
7. Celebrate success for individuals as a team, nothing makes people feel as good as public recognition. Create a ritual, it’s why universities have a ceremony when students pass their degrees. Take this approach when someone hits a target or achieves a milestone.
8. Reinforce your vision and values at every opportunity during team meetings, it is this that will eventually shape the culture of the salon. One of the main benefits of regular meetings is that team members feel more involved and cared for, if you give your team the L.U.V factor they will in turn pass this onto clients (the L.U.V factor stands for listened to, understood and valued.)
9. Be consistent, don’t cancel a meeting except in an emergency, even though people may groan a little about meetings, if you start cancelling meetings they will take it as meaning that you don’t care and that they’re not important.