I am looking for ways that managers handle staff meetings when the staff cannot break away from the work.

I work in a 24/7 operation where we cannot get away from the work in order to have a meeting. What we have done is hold two staff meetings. This is to accommodate those on different schedules as well as having the people scheduled for the 1st meeting to work during the 2nd, and vice-versa.

Unfortunately, this does not allow the entire staff to participate together. In the past, we've tried to hold the meeting in the operational area but the noise level, ringing phones, etc. hurt the effectiveness of the meeting.

I wonder how other managers are handling this type of situation. Perhaps there is a better way.

Mark's picture
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I generally find this argument to be a red herring, but nevertheless, two meetings are not out of the question.

But I still dont [i]recommend[/i] it. Just go to minimal staffing (you'll be incented to go fast), then ask your number two to brief those who are not in attendance. Hold him or her accountable for it.

And rotate non-attendees.

Works beautifully.


juliahhavener's picture
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We have rotating schedules, and a need for coverage, too.

We have one staff meeting. A lead handles coverage in our place during that meeting with the understanding that anything insanely critical will result in a knock on the door. If one of my peers is absent, one of us volunteers to update them on what we covered and what is needed or their lead attends in their place and does this task.

Alternately, a previous group did this with 2 meetings. Attendees were rotated so that even though the group was not ALL together at once, they all had interaction with each other over the period. Not quite as good, but still functional. The same agenda was used for both meetings - this is critical to making it work.

Todd G's picture


I feel your predicament. I too am the manager of a 24/7 operation. We hold three 1.5 hr staff meetings monthly. Some units hold two, one for nights and one for days.

I have 57 employees to get the message out to. It is very tough and there are some who are working all the time. We have 8hr and 12 hr shifts on my unit. Our times are 7:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm. It truly makes for a long day.

We are looking for ways to decrease the number of meetings, but in doing so, are looking at increasing those to 2 hr. meetings. If we don't, we are also looking at publishing a unit based newsletter that provides staff the necessary information that is pertinent.

Hope this helps.


kmcarrol's picture

Can you please share your thoughts on whether the organizational structure plays into the frequency of "Staff" meetings?

I just listened again to the podcast on How to Run Your Staff Meetings (May 21, 2007). I wonder if this recommendation is most applicable to functional organization structures. That is, organizations that are organized by the type of work that they are doing (Finance, Applications Development, Manufacturing, etc) and in which one's "staff" function very obviously as a cohesive team.

The recommendations may also be quite applicable to projectized organizations - those that are structured dynamically around projects. Granted, the "staff" may be likely to change more frequently in a projectized organization that in a functional organization. In this case, the "staff" also equals the team.

However, in my relatively short career of 8 years, I have always been in a (Weak) Matrix Organization - one in which teams come together based on projects, but each team member has a functional "home" and "staff" that they belong to. If the functional "staff" (made up of my manager and teammates) had weekly "staff" meetings, I have no idea what we would get out of those meetings. For the most part our projects do not overlap. We do get together over lunch and at monthly "staff" meetings, but these meetings tend to cover mostly general professional development topics or infrequent (quarterly) functional organization updates.


Kevin (C,d)

Mark's picture
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We still recommend it.