Staff meetings allow leaders and their teams to come together and discuss essential matters ranging from new objectives and projects to progress updates and outstanding concerns. When organized and appropriately executed, they strengthen communication, education, productivity, creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration. Yet, hosting a meeting in a remote environment presents a substantial challenge – team member engagement.
Virtual Meeting Engagement Obstacles
Remote workforces are beneficial for organizations and team members. Businesses save money, while team members experience better work-life balance. However, there are some downsides. The comfort of working from home often causes team member engagement to decline.
Some main reasons for the decline include limited oversight (accountability), outside distractions, technical difficulties, isolation, and social disconnect. When team members aren’t engaged, it causes a breakdown in communication that ultimately reduces the staff meeting’s effectiveness (and objective).
How To Boost Engagement
So, how can you get your team engaged during virtual meetings? Continue reading for advice.
The best way to determine how to improve engagement is to go to the source. Send out emails or questionnaires to learn what members like and dislike about the virtual meetings. Ask for recommendations on how to enhance their experience. You can then use this information to begin working on strategies to address their concerns.
Equip And Train Your Team
Some remote workers utilize personal devices and resources to perform work-related tasks. However, not all devices are created equally, meaning their compatibility, functionality, and accessibility to company software and applications varies.
As you might expect, engagement declines if team members can’t download meeting software, operate essential features, or sustain a solid internet connection. Equipping your team with company computers, accessories, and business-grade internet service reduces technical difficulties and increases engagement.
Audience Engagement Tools
Boredom, low comprehension, and exclusion can cause remote workers to tune out of virtual meetings. One of the most effective ways to keep team members engaged is to encourage their participation throughout the session.
Audience engagement tools make virtual meetings inviting, collaborative, and fun. Some platforms allow hosts to create polls, surveys, quizzes, games, and Q&A segments that their audience can complete throughout the meeting. Audience engagement tools enable team members to feel heard, included, and entertained, while management benefits from increased comprehension and meeting effectiveness.
Break The Ice
Most staff will arrive early during in-person meetings and engage in friendly conversation before things get underway. It’s a way of breaking the ice, building rapport, and getting acquainted before the meeting. However, this isn’t always possible for remote teams. Instead of jumping straight to the agenda, consider ice-breaking activities to get everyone comfortable.
Trivia games, show-and-tell sessions, quick questions (non-work-related), scavenger hunts, or photo sharing are fantastic ways to break the ice before a virtual meeting. Such solutions enable team members to have fun, collaborate, and get their creative juices flowing before the session begins.
Announcements And Acknowledgements
Keep the positivity and engagement going by starting virtual meetings with announcements and acknowledgments. Share special milestones or events like upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, pregnancies/births, new homes, graduations, etc. It allows teams the opportunity to celebrate and support each other.
After announcements, acknowledge positive performance. Did your sales team meet or exceed the quarterly projections? Perhaps a manager took on extra responsibilities when you were short-staffed. Whatever it is, showing appreciation when a team member (or group) goes above and beyond to help you reach company goals boosts morale, productivity, and engagement.
Diversify Meeting Content
You’ll have difficulty keeping your team engaged if your meetings consist of complicated reading materials and hour-long speeches. Meeting hosts can break up the monotony by incorporating more diversified content. Adding images, infographics, charts, graphs, and short videos to your presentation can improve team member comprehension and engagement.
Remote and hybrid workplaces have provided many benefits to businesses and workers alike. Yet, obstacles like declined engagement make essential practices like staff meetings difficult. As team member interaction is crucial, leaders are encouraged to use solutions like those above to improve the effectiveness and outcomes of their virtual meetings.
Interesting Related Article: “Different Types of Virtual Team Building Events That Can Be Held Online For Remote Employees“