04/26/14 By Jennifer Brown

Virtual-MeetingsRemember the days of the “all-hands” meetings or even regular weekly face-to-face staff meetings? These meetings used to be the main way in which management communicated information to employee groups. However, the ability to bring employees together to meet face-to-face is getting harder and harder for many employers – given employees are often not even working in an office, work different shifts, or have to be interacting with clients/customers throughout the day (and night).

This can present challenges for helping employees to stay connected with your company, efficiently sharing information with them, getting employee input and feedback, and ensuring everyone is up-to-date on new work processes. Nonetheless, there are a number of ways to overcome these challenges.

• Hold meetings via one of the free online web-based meeting services (e.g., GoToMeeting). This is a great way to hold meetings with remote employees. Employees can join the meeting via their computer or phone and often these services allow the meeting to be recorded so those people who can’t attend can listen later.

• Set-up a conference phone line, so that those employees who can’t be physically present for a meeting can attend and participate.This is a terrific way to conduct weekly status meetings.There are many paid and free conference phone services such as FreeConferenceCall.com

• Have minutes taken of a meeting noting key information and action items. Distribute these minutes to employees (those who attended and who did not) and have them sign-off indicating they have read and understand them. Then put the signed minutes in their personnel file.

• Send a monthly company newsletter to share “happenings”. Invite employees to contribute articles and information to include in the newsletter.

• Share information such as company updates, new work procedures/approaches, and business strategies with employees via email, memos, and/or video/pod-cast.

Helping employees stay connected with your business and up-to-date on key information as well as providing them with venues in which to participate in meetings is critical to the success of your business. Be sure to take some time to think about the communication approaches that will work best for your company and employees.

YOUR TURN: What approaches and supporting tools do you use to meet with your employees and share information? Please reply below.


photo credit Ambro via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jennifer Brown is the founder of PeopleTactics LLC, she is devoted to helping small business owners implement solutions to prevent Human Resources problems that drain them of their time, money, and energy. Jennifer works with small businesses in order to help them build stronger employee relationships, understand and comply with employment laws, establish policies, and set up easy-to-use HR systems to consistently avoid problems.

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