For many people, “staff meeting” means another boring, pointless hour to kill.
But for small businesses, time constraints actually work in your favor. When you have to huddle before the store opens or regroup after the morning rush, meetings need to be brief and to the point. No one has the luxury to ramble on or zone out.
It takes planning and skill to run hyper-productive meetings, but the benefits outweigh the effort. Effective meetings can build camaraderie, boost employee knowledge, and get everyone working toward shared goals.
For fast-paced businesses, developing a cohesive, high-functioning team is essential. Here are several ideas for turning short meetings into powerful team-building tools.
Open the books
Small business owners shoulder a lot of responsibility, which often makes them guarded, stressed, and unwilling to release control. But employees need information—both good and bad news—to be truly invested.
Information helps them understand the larger goals, engage in solving problems, and forge trusting relationships among themselves and with their employers.
In fact, the link between transparency and employee trust has been statistically proven. When companies provide reliable information that employees need, people are much more likely to view their employers as having integrity, goodwill, and competence.
Open up team meetings by honestly reporting on the state of the business. Are sales stagnant or slipping? Has there been an uptick in customer complaints? What positive developments can you celebrate together?
Insights Unlocked, a popular free app designed for the Clover system, backs you up with data. Weekly reports visually summarize total sales and average ticket size per guest, peak sales hours, new and repeat customers, lost customers, and more. Sharing solid information helps everyone understand business trends and brainstorm ideas together.
Periodically explain the nuts and bolts of one key area. Over time, employees grasp the bigger picture of how the business runs, building their knowledge and troubleshooting skills.
No one can do it all. Business owners need as much assistance as they can get—and empowered employees can provide it.
But how do you get order-takers to step into bigger roles? By handing over responsibility to stronger members of the team. With training and encouragement, they learn to make their own decisions, whether it’s rethinking seating arrangements or coming up with new inventory management systems.
The Clover App Market is packed with tools to help. Ask employees to research solutions, make a recommendation, and implement the change. At your next meeting, step out of the spotlight and call on employees to share their projects and results, using their own voices and authority.
Giving others leadership roles instills a sense of ownership and a real stake in the business’s prosperity.
For big-picture issues, no one can replace the boss. While employees appreciate clear instructions, unvarnished information, and the chance to gain new experience, small business owners need to set and clearly communicate the goals. Staff meetings are an easy way to get everyone on board.
What expectations do you have for individuals and areas of the business? What expectations do you have for yourself? Which changes need to happen, and how will they affect the team? How will results be measured?
Whether the business is growing, sales are lagging, or it’s time for another round of improvements, letting people know what’s coming next helps them prepare.
Most of all, staff meetings are a wonderful opportunity to recognize a job well done, celebrate work anniversaries, announce birthdays, welcome new team members, and say goodbye to departing ones. Your genuine appreciation for the members of the team will pay off in dedication and an eagerness to step up when you need them.
Small businesses depend on knowledgeable, hardworking teams. Turn staff meetings into a simple, no-cost vehicle for developing the essential support you need.
Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, Sun Trust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including Ignite Payments, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at clover.com.[image: Staff by Boris Baldinger on flickr]