Archive August 2017 XVIII, No. 8

Staffing: 5 Tips for Meaningful Meetings

You can get a lot done in a 15-minute weekly staff gathering.

Leslie Mattson

Leslie Mattson

BIO

meetings MEETINGITIS Poorly organized and inefficiently run meetings can drain staff morale.

I know they're necessary evils, but staff meetings are a thorn in almost every manager's side. Here are some ideas to run meetings like a pro.

1Keep a meeting scrapbook. Devote a notebook, journal or clipboard as your staff meeting "scrapbook." Title it as such, and keep blank pages and Post-its with it. Keep it on your desk or close by for easy reference. I use a clipboard with a colorful notebook as well as bright Post-its for staff meeting notes so they don't get lost in the mix.

2Create an easy-to-follow agenda. Keep a copy of a blank meeting agenda with your scrapbook. As agenda items come to mind, jot them down on a Post-it and stick them in the scrapbook. Make your agenda a scavenger hunt of sorts based on information from physicians, schedulers and vendors. Include printouts of noteworthy e-mails in the scrapbook. As staff share comments or concerns that everyone should hear, have them jot their items down and place them in the scrapbook. The next time someone comes to your office door and asks, "Would you make sure everyone knows ?" hand her a Post-it!

Other items you could include on the agenda: governing board decisions, new or revised policies, and quality improvement study information. Extend an open invitation to your physicians and governing board should they want to present or want you to share. Don't stress if you don't have time to write a formal agenda. Review your notes and make a quick bullet-point list. If you don't get to everything on the agenda, keep the items you passed over in the scrapbook for next time.

3Set solid start and stop times. Carve out a block of time and a place for your weekly meetings. What works best for us? A 15-minute slot before the first case on a day when we know we'll be starting late. (No judgment here: We all have those docs who take start time as a suggestion.) Five minutes before the meeting starts, let everyone know we are "meeting in 5." In weeks where either there isn't a full agenda or the schedule doesn't permit getting together, let your team know that the meeting's been postponed until next week. Establish a regular gathering spot. We meet just off the pre-op area, so that we're still available for patients and for staff who may not be able to attend.

4Take meeting minutes. Assign a staff member to take minutes. It's difficult to both chair and document a meeting. If you have information that counts as training, be sure to take credit for it. Training can be as simple as having everyone review a policy and sign off that they understand.

5Encourage staff participation. When you complete your agenda items, go around the group and ask the attendees to offer any information or ask questions. To avoid getting shrugs, I make everyone offer something, even if it's only a "good morning." Everyone is more inclined to offer information or ask questions when they know that they'll be asked to take an active role in the meeting. Once the meeting is complete, have staff sign off that they attended. Ask staff not in attendance to review the minutes at their soonest convenience. OSM

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