Back to Blogs

How to retain great talent #3: Make meetings worth attending

  • Publish Date: Posted over 1 year ago
  • Author: Handle Recruitment
The People Experience - Handle Recruitment

Recently, Shopify announced they were temporarily scrapping meetings with more than two people. It’s a bold move, spurred on by the impression that large chunks of peoples’ days were being wasted. According to Kaz Nejatian, Shopify’s Chief Operating Officer: “No one joined Shopify to sit in meetings.”

Throughout COVID, meeting culture went into overdrive. Scheduling app found that meetings increased by around 70% between 2020 and 2021. A decrease in face-to-face time meant simple questions had to become video calls, and people soon found they had little time to do actual work. 

While Shopify’s move is an interesting one, we’re not convinced that a complete group meeting cull is the answer long-term. A Monday morning team meeting may not always provide the most high-level insights, but it brings teams together in a way that is crucial for cohesion and morale. Furthermore, in a hybrid environment, group meetings are important for new starters to get to grips with who their coworkers are, and what they do. 

What many companies need to do is establish a new meeting culture. One that considers what is important about them, and culls what isn’t.

  • Consider mandatory time limits 

Look, all we’re saying is we’ve participated in our fair share of 45 minute long meetings that could have been 30 (or even 15) minutes. Easily. 

  • ‘No meeting’ time is precious

Consider mandatory ‘no meeting’ blocks of time (or whole days), where people can actually focus their attention on actioning some of the amazing ideas that meetings created. 

  • Encourage agendas 

Agendas clarify the purpose of the meeting to all involved - and ensure that everyone is properly prepared. They don’t need to be massively detailed (or carefully written) - bullet points will do! 

  • Empower people to say no

Hopefully the process of creating an agenda ensures that no pointless meetings are being put into people’s calendars. But sometimes meetings are a habitual reflex - and employees should feel like they are able to say no to things that will waste their time. 

Interested in hearing more? We spoke to Charmaine St. John, Head of People at Hutch, about introducing a 4 day work week, and how they changed their meeting culture completely to make it work.