Make Your Meetings Better

November 20th, 2015

Your meetings may be efficient, short, and productive, but there’s a strong chance you could be getting more out each session than you already do. And there are plenty of reasons to make this happen: meetings consume a huge portion of the working day for an average employee, and every minute NOT spent in a meeting can be spent on other tasks that require focused individual attention. These extra minutes add up. Just a simple tweak to your meeting structure can help you—and your employees—accomplish more over the long term. Here are a few ways to streamline the process.

Cancel when you can.

If there’s any way to avoid scheduling a meeting or any alternative methods that can be used to accomplish the same goals, consider these alternatives. Meetings should be a last resort. As you create a list of invitees, keep the list short. Before you add a name, consider this person’s hourly salary and imagine how this time and money might be better spent.

Write down goals.

The person who decides to schedule a given meeting should document the goals of the session before distributing invitations. He or she should also type up an agenda so the session stays on track. Distributing the agenda before the meeting can help each participant know what to expect, how they can contribute, and when the session is expected to end.

Encourage contributions, but stay focused.

A totalitarian approach to meeting sessions can keep your meetings short, since everyone at the table will be afraid to speak up and will just scribble notes until it’s time to leave. On the other end of the spectrum, a relaxed open forum may encourage contributions that haven’t been fully thought out, and may turn your meeting into a rambling free-for-all. Find a sweet spot in between; encourage participants to speak up, but keep the atmosphere formal, focused, and respectful.

Planning or status?

Don’t confuse a forward-thinking planning session with a status update. If the goal is to inform, check in, and report on progress, keep the conversation centered on the present. If the goal is to look ahead and lay the ground work for future action, stay focused on the road. Make sure each participant clearly understands his or her next steps and action items before leaving the room.

Provide background before the meeting begins.

Don’t spend the first half of a long session providing updates and backstory that most of the participants already know. Distribute this information beforehand, or encourage participants to inform and educate themselves before showing up. Again, weigh the value of this time against the hourly salaries and alternative tasks of each participant.

For more on how to keep your meetings focused and purposeful, contact the staffing and business management team at PSU.

Contact us today

Avoid Becoming a Stepping Stone Employer

September 4th, 2015

You’re about to wrap up your selection process, and within the next day or so, you’ll make a final decision and settle on your chosen candidate for a critical open position. You have only one small problem: your preferred candidate is just a little TOO perfect. They’re ambitious, highly energetic, and a bit overqualified for the role. They have every credential you require, plus a few more that you haven’t even asked for. There’s no question that they’ll excel at this job. But how long will they stay here? How can you make sure your talented applicant will still be with you on this day a year from now? Keep these tips in mind.

Be direct.

If your candidate seems overqualified for the position and naturally ambitious or restless, address the issue head on. And consider doing this before you make your final decision. Simply express your concerns and allow the candidate to answer as they choose. For example: “You seem like a great fit for this role, but I’m concerned you may not stay with us very long if you find something else. Is this really the kind of work you’re looking for over the long term?” As they answer, read between the lines.

Ask for a verbal commitment.

With an at-will agreement, there’s no way to enforce a simple verbal confirmation made during an interview. But this confirmation may have more power than you realize. A simple exchange involving a spoken agreement or a handshake may influence her decision not to accept or search for another role immediately after stepping into this one.

Work hard on retention.

Find out exactly what this employee will need in order to stay happy and thrive in the role at hand. Discuss this in detail before you make a formal offer. If you can’t afford the salary she requires, for example, work with your payroll department to raise your offer. As an alternative, you can improve her benefits package, or provide other perks that may compensate for the deficiency. Of course, you’ll also need to make sure their working conditions are acceptable and their advancement plans align with the long term needs of the company.

Tackle problems before they arise.

If there are any aspects of this role that your candidate may not like or may find boring or unpleasant, get this out of the way upfront. Explain these specific challenges and ask your candidate how she intends to handle them. This can help both of you identify potential problems long before they appear on the horizon.

For more information on selecting and retaining the most talented candidates on the market, reach out to the experienced staffing team at PSU.

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