In a recent poll, casual summer barbeques were rated the number one way to get the company together, capturing 73 percent of the employers' votes. The remaining 27 percent chose a team-building or training event. Formal holiday parties are not on people's minds or in their budgets - at least for the time being, receiving zero votes from our employers.
What do all of these large events have in common? They are non-work-specific meetings meant to boost morale. But what if you could infuse these morale boosting meetings into your staff's daily routine? Let's look at some examples:
Off-site 'Brainstorm' Sessions
For the cost of some Sharpies and large Post-it paper pads, hosting an offsite session is a wise investment. If you can host it at your house, you'll save the cost of renting a space.
"A well-planned and -executed meeting holds benefits that carry on after the event," says George W. Watts, author of the book Becoming Your Own Business Coach. Watts says that off-site meetings create the foundation for "Aha!" moments and advises leaders to regard them as an R&D cost.
Short, Problem-solving Meetings (As Needed)
"On occasion, I will spontaneously ask people to take five and get into a 'group think' mode with me on a given issue." says one Brown University staffer. "The synergy that arises when everyone puts their mind on a problem almost always results in a new, creative approach. In this way, I show the staff that I have a high regard for their opinions, and they help me to develop new ways of thinking. Win, win!"
Read more great insights from Brown University's Center for Learning ' Professional Development's morale idea-gathering poll [PDF].
Non-work, Enrichment Classes
Whether it's a Myers Briggs series, some yoga tips or a learning about flower arranging from a fellow employee, enrichment "meetings" around the lunch hour (AKA lunch 'n learns) are a nice way to ensure that your employees are getting out from behind their desk for a needed break. Ask employees to share the cost by paying a small fee, which will help with attendance.
The Power of Food
Whether it's a holiday potluck, coffee and bagels for all at the monthly staff meeting or a pizza lunch for a job well done - food is a great equalizer and motivator.
Other Meeting Tips
- Email an agenda prior to the meeting (and stick to it)
- Start on time
- Schedule your meetings to start five or 10 minutes past the hour (i.e. 2:10pm). This will give attendees a breather and some prep time after returning from lunch or another meeting.