The answers to these questions matter. Meetings aren’t cheap, so you want to make each minute count. The less efficient and productive meetings are, the more they cost. One employee’s lost hour is bad enough. When meetings are a waste, the costs are multiplied. Too many bad meetings and you risk creating a culture marked by disorganization and dissatisfaction.
How do you make every minute in a meeting count?
- Write and distribute an agenda for each meeting. The agenda should indicate what topics will be discussed, who will lead the discussion of each topic, and how much time will be allotted for each topic. Email the agenda to participants so they can prepare. At the meeting, stick to the agenda. Whoever leads the meeting should bring everyone back to the agenda when the discussion veers too far off-topic.
- Invite only the people who have a need to attend the meeting. If someone doesn’t have something to say or hear at the meeting, they probably don’t need to be there. Remember, you are paying for these meetings, and the more people attend, the more the meetings cost.
- Assign someone to write minutes of the meeting. Ideally, this person would not be heavily involved with leading the discussion and could focus on quickly and accurately recording what was said and what was decided. Online apps can be helpful here as participants can see notes in real time and make corrections and suggestions. These apps are also great for easy reference and tracking progress on action items.
- Stay focused on the agenda. If a particular topic needs more discussion than is allotted to it, you may want to table it for a future meeting. However, an agenda shouldn’t always be the last word on what happens. If the agenda must be changed mid-meeting, do it, but take care to record what changes were made and what needs to be discussed later.
- End the meeting on time and with clear action items for the next meeting or follow-up discussion. Every participant should have gained something from the meeting: information important for their work, a better understanding of something, a direction to take, or a task to do. If the meeting hasn’t “produced” something, it probably didn’t need to happen.
These tips are easy enough to put into practice, but they’re also easy to forget or neglect. Forgetting to create an agenda here and there might not seem like a big deal, but it adds up to hours of work without organization or focus.
Effective meetings require good organizational skills, but also good habits and discipline. If you put these tips into practice and commit to them, you’ll be well on your way.
Most employers are familiar with the core list of federally protected classes: race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. These come from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and have become part of our collective employment consciousness. Other federally protected classes include military or veteran status, pregnancy, and citizenship and immigration status.
What employers may not realize is that most states have added their own groups to this list. For instance, many states protect marital status, and a growing number protect credit information and arrest records. Lawful off-duty conduct, political activity, and wage garnishments are also protected in a number of states. Managers who aren’t aware of the laws may unwittingly violate them, but as the adage goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Check your state law in the HR Support Center (use the search bar and type in your state + “equal employment”) to make sure you’re familiar with the non-discrimination laws that apply to your organization.
What is the technical or otherwise common definition of an employee’s termination date? Is it the date the on which the termination occurs or the last date the employee performed work?
Answer from Monica, SPHR, SHRM-CP:
Typically, the termination date is the day that the actual termination occurred. It may or may not coincide with the final day of work, depending on the circumstances.
For example, many companies have a no-call, no-show provision in their attendance policy (e.g., three days of no-call, no-show will result in termination), after which an employee is terminated based on job abandonment. In such a scenario, the date of termination is after the third day of no-call, no-show, which does not coincide with the employee’s last day of work. Alternatively, the employer or employee may give advance notice, as is often the case when employees are simply moving on in their career or the employer is conducting a layoff. In that case, the termination date is the employee’s final day of work.
If an employee files for unemployment, the unemployment agency may request both the employee’s last date of work and the termination date. If this request isn’t made and the termination day and last work day are not the same, we still recommend providing both dates in response to the unemployment claim.