Much has been written lately about “quiet quitting” and its impact on both businesses and employees, but in essence, “quiet quitting” is an acute form of employee disengagement. There are numerous factors that can lead employees to disengage, so addressing quiet quitting in all its forms requires companies to take a multi-faceted approach. That said, one area where companies can make an immediate impact is improving employee engagement during the meetings, especially those conducted over video conference calls every day.
After all, what’s worse than a drawn out, inefficient meeting? Try three hour-long video conference calls, all back-to-back. In the age of hybrid work, where some of your employees are in conference rooms, but others call from their desk at their home office, the risk of people “checking out” and not paying attention is all too real and all too common. Now people can easily turn off their camera and disengage, hold side conversations, or even work on “who knows what” without you knowing. Think about how expensive this can be to your company in terms of wasted time and money.
On the flip side, when meetings go right your people feel energized and your business moves forward. That is why you should think of every meeting, whether in person or over video call, as an investment in your people and your business. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to help make this investment pay off.
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Here are 5 ways to make video conference calls more engaging
Plan for what happens before and after the video call
So much of what makes a meeting effective, whether it’s in person or over video, has to do with what comes before and after. Before scheduling the meeting, it’s important to understand what your desired outcome is, and plan your agenda to support that outcome. When time is at premium, consider sending a pre-read so you can dive into discussion and decision-making, rather than information sharing. After the meeting, make sure you send a prompt recap with clear next steps, owners, and timing. Not only does this drive accountability among those who attended the call, but also gives people who didn’t attend an opportunity to engage afterwards.
Be intentionally inclusive
When you are planning your meeting, consider how you can give a wide cross section of your team a chance to share their ideas and contributions. It is important that most team members feel invested in the outcome of the meeting, as that will not only drive engagement during the meeting, but also encourage them to follow through. As you ask for their participation, remember that not everyone has the same communication style – some people are great at speaking on the spot, whereas others prefer to take their time before speaking out, and may prefer more time to prepare.
Set a professional tone by making meetings “camera on”
By asking your participants to turn on their camera, even when they are not speaking, you are also sending a message that you expect them to be fully present during the discussion. And when cameras are on, you get the real-time, non-verbal feedback that is such a big part of face-to-face communications.
Beware of meeting fatigue
Our bodies aren’t built to sit endlessly in meetings, looking at small squares on a screen. Whenever possible, it’s important to build opportunities for people to stand up and move. If you are planning meetings longer than an hour, consider adding small breaks in between. Another trick is to schedule meetings 5 minutes past the hour, giving people a grace period to stretch and move around before asking them to engage on a new topic. In an office setting, this may happen naturally when people move from room to room between meetings. Folks who work remotely, however, need to be more intentional about movement.
Invest in technology that levels the playing field for remote workers
Simply stated, remote workers want to have an impact and have their contributions recognized by their peers and their leaders. This is especially important in hybrid teams where some people work from the office, but others work remotely. Although there is no substitute to being in person, technology can help.
Although quiet quitting is a common and multifaceted problem, there are tangible and practical steps that businesses can take to help reduce its impact. As more businesses transition their workforce to a hybrid model, virtual meetings such as video conference calls are also becoming more central to each company’s success, so improving engagement during video conference calls should be a priority.
By being disciplined in how we plan and run our meetings, and making wise investments in technology, businesses can give all their employees a better chance to succeed, drive engagement, and improve their performance in the long run.