POE’s all-company meeting that takes place once a month was typically held at 9am on Thursdays. The meeting itself contained a lot of information and admittedly it was hard to absorb it first thing in the morning. Especially when most members’ minds were drifting to what else they needed to accomplish that day. It was not a total drag, but it was not a meeting many looked forward to except for calling out birthdays and anniversaries.
Today, members look forward to this meeting, it is exciting to see that it is an “all-company meeting” week on the calendar. There is chatter, laughter and engagement like there never was before and the meeting typically goes over time because of the engaging conversations. Members feel empowered to voice concerns and compliments.
How did POE flip the switch? With a few changes to the time, structure and amenities, the room of 30 quiet, disengaged members became a room full of smiles and engagement.
1. We moved the meeting to 2:30pm – a time when most people are experiencing the afternoon lull. Having a collaborative event is a perfect pick-me-up.
2. SNACKS! And drinks! Having a buffet of everyone’s favorite snacks and drinks is quite a motivator and something to look forward to. As everyone fills their plates and cups it helps break the ice and get members loosened up.
3. The meeting is now followed by a happy hour. It isn’t required that members stay, but some do, and it is a wonderful time for fellowship with colleagues at the end of the day.
4. The format of the meeting is simplified and there are breaks for engagement using our mobile devices and answering fun questions – it helps keep everyone’s focus – not getting stuck on any one topic for too long.
These simple changes have turned an informational meeting into a celebrational one. We have had some tough conversations that would have never happened in the old format. We crack jokes and laugh and get to know one another which fosters an atmosphere of trust and respect. It is leadership’s commitment to making every aspect of our workplace better that makes POE a best place to work.