How often have you attended meetings and various other management presentations that were, at best, a bore, and at worst a complete wind-up – not to mention a glorious waste of time?
Here are 7 changes that gave one company a major leap in employee satisfaction after years of C-performances in the presentation stakes. And you know what? It’s not rocket science. It’s about meeting people’s needs, plain and simple!
After every meeting, people were given an A4 feedback sheet and a pencil. No complicated questions, just a simple “How was the meeting?”. Underneath, two BIG boxes asking “What worked?” and “What didn’t?”
Next, based on this feedback…
Meetings were arranged well in advance so managers could plan for lost time and feed back on any scheduling or outage problems the meetings might create – things that had previously sent them crazy and caused the business all sorts of problems.
Agendas were issued in advance so that people knew why they were giving up their time to attend. Courtesy, if nothing else.
Out went the theatre-style seating plan – too passive, too “you talk, we listen” – and in came cabaret-style round tables and room for people with their backs to the stage to turn their seats around when people were presenting.
Water and non-sugar fruit drinks were offered alongside the usual tea and coffee. Fruit and savoury snacks took their place at the table alongside cakes and biscuits.
The usual presenters – senior managers all – were drilled in presentation techniques (with mixed results, it has to be said!):
- “speak simply and clearly” – half the room didn’t have English as their first language
- “don’t just read the slide!”
- “don’t drone on – sound like you care!”
- “drop the jargon” – the number one complaint!
After a few months, senior managers spent far less time presenting and much more time listening and learning. In their place, groups of managers and associate staff helped decide the agenda – “Not just management stuff” – took to the stage and made a huge impact with their business acumen, creativity and panache. Meetings actually became fun!
Ample time and space was given for people to both ask questions and speak out. It required planning and lots of patience. At first … silence. Then a question…repeated by the presenter so that everyone could hear. With time, the questions began to flow, all answered on the spot or written down with a promise – kept – to get back to everyone later on.
Strange as it may sound, this was one of the hardest steps to take; to open the floor to questions, challenges, complaints, gripes and moans. Why this, why that, what happened to such and such?
Printer problems, PC problems, too hot, too cold, smoking breaks, reward and recognition, pay…
The thing is, these were real issues, out there whether the company liked it or not, eating away at people’s goodwill, patience, loyalty. And once moves were made to address these issues, to really tackle employee satisfaction, rather than pay lip service to it, out came the bigger stuff, the business-critical stuff, the bottom-line employee customer shareholder stuff.
And then things really started to move!