Meeting malaise

There’s great new survey out today from the Victorian branch of the Australian Institute of Management, looking at a myriad of issues around employee engagement.

Overall, the survey paints a pretty good picture of Australian business. Staff mostly understand their company’s values and missions, they mostly feel appreciated by their managers and respect them, and they are mostly engaged – 86% of the 3,368 workers surveyed (it was mostly middle managers and below) said they felt a sense of loyalty towards their organisation, while 94% said they cared about the future of their organisation.

But there was a rather disturbing finding – 28% of respondents said they “could be putting more effort and input into my current role”.

It’s a striking finding that raises an interesting question.

If almost a third of people can admit that they are not contributing as much as they can, I am willing to bet that entrepreneurs and business owners would be able to identify the people for whom this is true.

But the question is: What are you going to change to ensure people can be at their best?

In some cases, you might need to provide training or mentoring to help lift that person out of their rut.

In other cases, you might need to give them a new role, one that re-energises them or better uses their skills.

But I reckon the survey might suggest another thing that you can change at a company level to increase the productivity of your staff – meetings.

The second stunning result from this survey was that 22% of respondents spend more than eight hours a week – that is, an entire day! – in meetings.

If these meetings are incredibly effective and brilliantly run, then that might be time well spent. But to me, the idea that one in every five workers would be losing a day a week trapped in meeting rooms is frightening and suggests that in many organisations too much time is spent deliberating and talking, and not enough time spent putting decisions into action.

Is this happening in your business? If so, the way you operate might be actually preventing people from putting in as much effort as they should.

Take a quick look at this great story from management expert Leon Gettler on running better meetings, and get things straightened out.

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