In a world where hybrid work has become the new normal, effective meetings are vital for keeping employees engaged and productive. That’s one of the key points of discussion with clients who I helped transition to hybrid and remote work. Based on my recent interview with Meg Healey Madison, VP of HR at Shure, it’s clear that meeting equity is the key to making hybrid meetings successful.
Embracing Meeting Equity: A Path to Greater Inclusivity
Madison describes meeting equity as ensuring that all participants, whether in-person or remote, have an equal opportunity to contribute and be heard. It’s like inviting everyone to a potluck dinner, but making sure each dish is equally accessible and delectable. By focusing on meeting equity, companies can not only enhance the hybrid work experience but also foster a more inclusive and democratic environment.
Imagine a chorus of singers, each lending their unique voice to create a harmonious melody. Without meeting equity, it would be like drowning out some of the singers, resulting in a disjointed and unbalanced performance. This is why it is essential to prioritize inclusivity and equity in meetings, so that every voice can be heard, and the collective wisdom of the group can be harnessed effectively.
Best Practices for Achieving Meeting Equity
While I shared some tactics I use with my clients, Madison emphasized the importance of skill-building and the role of technology in achieving meeting equity. Here are some best practices to help you on this journey:
- Management training: Equip managers with the skills needed to manage remote and hybrid teams, focusing on individualized leadership and results orientation. This includes understanding how to set clear expectations, provide ongoing feedback, and evaluate performance based on outcomes, rather than physical presence.
- Smart technology: Utilize audio and video technology that recognizes the speaker and dampens background noise, ensuring a seamless meeting experience. Invest in high-quality microphones, cameras, and software that facilitate smooth communication and create an equitable environment for all participants, no matter their location.
- Facilitation: Assign a virtual meeting facilitator to manage remote participants, monitor chat, and encourage engagement through emojis and other interactive features. This individual can help bridge the gap between in-person and remote attendees, ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and contribute to the discussion.
- Physical space: Design meeting spaces that are conducive to hybrid meetings, ensuring good quality audio and video experiences for all participants. Consider elements like acoustics, lighting, and seating arrangements, so that both in-person and remote attendees feel comfortable and engaged.
- Clear agendas and communication: Develop clear meeting agendas, with defined roles and expectations for each participant. Ensure that everyone has access to the necessary materials and information beforehand, so they can come prepared to contribute effectively.
- Inclusive meeting practices: Encourage active listening, and create opportunities for remote participants to engage in discussions. This may include using tools like breakout rooms or chat features to foster collaboration and dialogue among all attendees, regardless of their physical location.
Shifting Gears: From Face Time to Results Orientation
As we embrace the hybrid work model, it’s crucial to shift from emphasizing face time to focusing on results orientation, according to Madison. This means setting measurable objectives and managing employees based on their contributions, rather than the hours they clock in at the office. As a kaleidoscope is incomplete without each piece of glass, so too is a company without the unique contributions of every employee.
This shift in mindset requires a reevaluation of traditional performance metrics and management styles. By moving away from a “time spent” mentality and embracing a more outcome-driven approach, companies can empower their employees to work in ways that best suit their individual needs and strengths.
By adopting meeting equity as a guiding principle, companies can strike the right balance between the needs of in-person and remote employees. This ensures that everyone feels valued and included, fostering greater collaboration and innovation across the organization.
Picture a well-balanced seesaw, where all participants have an equal opportunity to enjoy the ride. By embracing meeting equity, companies can create a work environment that is not only more engaging but also more conducive to long-term success.
Continual Improvement: Adapting to the Evolving Hybrid Landscape
Madison highlights how, as hybrid work continues to evolve, it’s essential for organizations to stay flexible and adaptable. Keep refining your approach to meeting equity, incorporating new technologies and best practices as they emerge. By staying ahead of the curve, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the shifting landscape and make the most of the opportunities that hybrid work has to offer.
Think of meeting equity as a recipe that you continually tweak and improve upon, adding new ingredients and techniques to create the perfect dish. By staying open to change and continuously refining your approach, you’ll be able to serve up a more satisfying and equitable meeting experience for all.
Final Thoughts: Embracing Meeting Equity for a Thriving Hybrid Workforce
Meeting equity is a critical component of successful hybrid meetings. By focusing on inclusivity, technology, and management training, companies can create an environment where all employees feel heard, engaged, and empowered to contribute.
As Madison pointed out, Shure’s journey toward meeting equity has led to positive outcomes for both their employees and the company as a whole. By adopting a similar approach, your organization can also reap the benefits of a more inclusive, results-oriented, and balanced work environment.
In the words of a wise conductor, “A great orchestra is made up of many instruments, each playing its unique part in harmony with the others.” By embracing meeting equity, you can ensure that every employee, whether in-person or remote, has the opportunity to play their part and contribute to the symphony of your organization’s success.
Meeting equity is crucial for successful hybrid meetings, ensuring all participants have equal opportunities to contribute and be heard, fostering inclusivity and maximizing collective wisdom...>Click to tweet
Image credit: fauxels/Pexels
Originally published in Disaster Avoidance Experts on April 19, 2023