Wrestling Unproductive Meetings to the Ground
unproductive virtual meetings

Are meetings really a waste of time?

Not all of them. Not all the time.

Yet we’ve all been there, done that.

It hurts just to think about the endless hours we spend in webinars or on conference calls or wriggling in uncomfortable boardroom chairs listening to voices drone on and on, seemingly just for the sake of being heard. It’s grandstanding at its worst.

A summer 2017 employee feedback survey polled 2,000 working Americans to try to figure out what attendees do in meetings.

With growing numbers of remote employees in the workforce and more virtual meetings taking place (where you’re essentially invisible) it’s not surprising, as HR Dive writer Valerie Bolden-Barrett reports, that 38 percent of the employees polled daydream during meetings, nearly one-third work on other projects, a quarter surf the web, 21 percent check social media and 18 percent think about vacations.

That’s serious employee disengagement.

When you consider the cost of assembling employees together for business meetings, the shear dollar value seated at the table or dialing in on conference lines can be startling if not staggering.

According to the Australian-based software developer Atlassian, most employees attend 62 meetings per month and consider 31 of the hours spent in them wasted.

One U.S. statistic reported by Bill Howatt in the Globe and Mail, shows the salary cost for unnecessary meetings is approximately $37-billion (U.S.) a year.

Do a quick Google search and you’ll find all kinds of online calculators and formulas to help you estimate what you’re spending in largely pointless employee meetings.

How can meetings become more meaningful and engaging?

We could surmise endlessly. But if you really want to change things up, do what best practice organizations hell-bent on employee engagement do.


Quick, specific and targeted employee feedback surveys are a great tool when you need to drill down on a specific topic—like business meetings.

Confidential online Pulse Surveys are easy to implement.

They bring issues to the table for discussions and decisions.

And remove excuses for not acting on daily considerations that impact employee engagement – like yawn-inducing meetings – when the evidence is loud and clear.

So, the next time you’re thinking of holding a meeting, hold off before asking yourself if there’s another way to tackle what you intend to discuss in a group.

And give some serious thought to running organization-wide employee feedback surveys to find out the kinds of reasons, best times of day, frequency, and length of time that makes meetings a productive, engaging experience for your workforce and your bottom line.

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