British Psychology Society news release: Workers' feedback vital to reduce time wasted in meetings

Meetings in some organisations would be more cost effective and focused, taking less time, if employees had the opportunity to give feedback on how they are run and were involved in making improvements.

These are the findings presented today, Friday 9 January 2015, by researchers Katarzyna Cichomska and Victoria Roe of Leeds University Business School at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference in Glasgow.

Victoria said: “Previous research has told us that managers spend more than half of their working week in meetings and that they describe as much as 50 per cent of these meetings as unproductive. This study examined ways to improve and promote meeting effectiveness in a global corporation.”

A total of 377 employees completed questionnaires about the effectiveness of fifty-one meetings. They reported satisfaction with different aspects of meetings such as organisation, attendance and outcomes. Participants were also asked to indicate what problems had occurred during meetings. Weaker areas included aspects related to stakeholder attendance and punctuality, and these were further explored among other key findings in ten interviews.

As a result good practice guidelines for meetings were developed with thirty-one teams using the guidance to improve over fifty meetings.

Analysis showed that participating in the changes led to increased meeting satisfaction. When all team members were involved, there was an improvement in motivation and attendance and a greater sense of purpose. The research indicated organisations and individuals can benefit from understanding how effective their meetings are, and where they could make improvements.

Katarzyna said: “Meetings have almost become a solution to all problems, but at the same time, they themselves can lead to wasted time and decreased productivity. Having good meeting guidelines and appropriate resources is an essential step towards effective meeting practice.

“However, without an effective way of implementing them into the day-to-day functioning of a busy working environment, they may not be sufficient in creating an effective meeting culture.”

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