Management 101: Staff Meetings

staff meetings

I planned a staff meeting one early weekend morning with my assistant managers. We brought coffee, orange juice, and donuts to help with the early morning blues. For about an hour and a half we went through the staff manual word by word and reiterated all the policies and procedures to refresh staff's memory. A few things we went over in depth because they were recurring issues and others we mentioned slightly. At the end we asked staff if they had any questions with about 10-15 minutes to spare.

As a management team we felt accomplished and thought what we needed to say was well received. Later that day one of my staffers approached me about how the meeting was useless. Apparently the majority of staff felt we spent the entire meeting talking down to them about things they already knew, although those things were also not being done correctly. They were extremely frustrated and we all felt the tension on the floor the next few days. I spoke to a few of my assistant managers and decided we should have an emergency staff meeting to help remedy this issue.

We had a suggestion box by our office door and we spread word and posted signs that we would be having an emergency meeting the following weekend. A lot of people were upset about the back to back meetings but we emphasized it as being mandatory. Our mission was to get staff to drop concerns in the box and we would discuss them in the meeting to show we genuinely did care about their frustrations. We just thought it was important to reiterate the basics for everyone.

The day of the meeting I wrote all suggestions into an excel sheet, printed and cut them, curled them up into a ball and placed them in the suggestion box.

For about two hours we passed the box around, full of suggestions and concerns that staff had. As a team we created an open forum where we worked on addressing their concerns and listening to their stories in depth. Some ideas were genius and changed the whole dynamic of our staff and management relationship.

Ideas We Came Up With
  • Changing the start and end of shift times by 15 minutes so staff had enough time to prepare and end their shift on time.

  • Monthly staff meetings with a mandatory meeting every three months.

  • More staff training to increase knowledge of products.

  • More communication about changes in-store so staff were aware.

  • More managerial support on the floor. Having two managers or supervisors on the floor at all times to help spread support.

  • More consistency in scheduling.

All of these were important for us as a team. Simple things that we as managers overlook due to our difference in perspective, were everyday challenges for staff and easy fixes on our end.

Staff will always be hesitant in communicating their fears and frustrations. Your job as a manager is to facilitate them communicating their concerns to ease work tensions. My end lesson was, if there's an issue and you go into a staff meeting telling everyone whats wrong versus understanding why they're doing the wrong stuff you further alienate them.