Have you ever heard about an internal meeting that felt like a waste of time? I’m pretty sure you have. How about a project kickoff meeting where paying 1000€ for an external facilitator was too much? Or a monthly internal info meeting that keeps being organised just because “we have always done that”. If you are responsible for an organisation’s internal events, personnel development, and time management, you should be worried.
I am personally sick of wasting people’s time on inefficient meetings. It seems to be organisations’ silently approved black hole of time and money. And I get it, this issue is easy to bypass because no one seems to own this monstrous problem, and it is truly difficult to fix. I know it because I have tried everything myself. Meeting policies, a variety of surveys, meeting organiser trainings, facilitation tactics, etc. You name it, I've tried it.
Disappearing cost and unhappy attendees
In most companies the biggest costs are directly related to our people. On average, 83% of people use up to one-third of their weekly working time in meetings (source: Dialpad 2021). The way we use that time is crucial for all businesses. The total cost tied to meetings is simply huge.
There are two things I worry about - organising events without understanding the cost involved and repeating events that are not worth the time investment.
To give an example, let’s say an internal cost of an employee is 50€ per hour. Organising an All-Hands meeting in a company with 1000 employees costs 50 000€! When planning internal meetings, this cost should always be taken into account. If you would have a cost ceiling for each internal event, I’m sure it would change the way we organise these meetings.
My other issue is that internal happenings, be they bigger meetings, training sessions, information sessions, parties or whatever, are not treated as events. That’s a big mistake because they are just that - events. What’s more, events should be developed systematically in order to create successful events in the long term.
Unfortunately, nothing done once makes any lasting difference. That would be too easy. No survey nor training can make internal meetings efficient. As in all long-term development, only consistency will create results. Not intensity.
Problem-solving at Lyyti
At Lyyti, we have recognised the cost and challenges that internal meetings pose. As many different people organise internal events and we are not professional event managers, we have implemented a few easy-to-follow rules for our internal events.
Firstly, internal events are recognised as events and we understand how much time we spend in meetings. We carefully consider whose input is needed during the event and we’ve cut down on the amount of meetings as a whole and the length of individual meetings by having clear agendas in place when we meet.
Secondly, we use Experience Value Score (EVS) to measure the participant experience of our bigger internal events. They can be monthly townhall meetings, product roadmap presentations, management team meetings or even board meetings. After the event, the organiser(s) go through the data in a retrospective meeting, make small adjustments and communicate them to participants. When this is done time after time, actual lasting change is possible. The culture of internal events truly changes, and they become more and more useful for the participants.
What we have noticed is that even though we don’t measure the participant experience of every small meeting, the culture of internal events is changing in our organisation as people notice we put so much emphasis on it. We care about each encounter and try our best to make them meaningful. The changes we make can be small, but they happen all the time; we make sure the materials are shared in time, create agendas with clear goals, write down committed actions and change the concepts of internal events when necessary. The small but constant changes create a culture where everyone’s time is respected.
This model has changed the way I value our employees’ time. And I never want to go back. Maybe it would be time for you as well to stop wasting people’s time?
In case you are willing to hear more about how we do this, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.