A company culture is an amalgamation of various practices followed in an organisation. The existing dress code, the behaviour of the company’s top brass, the way these individuals conduct business and the manner in which meetings are held—all of these determine the culture of a company. Meetings are a great way of acquainting yourself with the company’s culture because they often put forward a good sample of the entire workforce.
The things we can glean from a meeting about the company’s culture include—who makes decisions, how organised communication channels are and how people interact with each other. Broadly categorised according to size, meetings can be an assembly, a council or a committee. An assembly usually comprises of a 100 or more people, while a council might have half that strength. Committees are generally restricted to a dozen or so people.
There is no specific formula to make meetings fit everyone’s needs. The aim should be to ensure that every meeting meets its own goals. The format of the meeting is important in shaping company culture and having an agenda can help you do this. By structuring meetings in a way that they fulfil their purpose, you can come up with a model of what your company culture should look like. The meeting should end with a clear outline of what is to be done next.
A single person should not dominate the meeting. Instead, every person present should be involved in the proceedings. Singling out individuals and seeking their opinions on matters under discussion will ensure that the company believes in building an innovative and supportive culture. Conducting weekly or monthly interactive sessions is a good way to ensure this.
Punctuality sends the message that the company is aware of the employee’s workplace obligations and values their time. You do not want to give the impression that it is okay to miss deadlines or that schedules are flexible. Not being punctual can lead to employees assuming that it is okay to do the same when it comes to their assignments and projects.
The frequency of meetings, the people invited to them and the process followed to arrive at a decision are essential in charting the course to company culture. Daily meetings with people working on the same project, sharing a common objective and arriving at decisions that are acceptable to all have been found to be the most useful in shaping a healthy and sustainable company culture.
A good way of gauging what your meetings convey about your company’s culture is to collect feedback from employees and make changes accordingly before the next meeting. Feedback can be helpful in knowing what can be improved and assessing what kind of message is being sent across to your team. The bottom line is that strong, meaningful meetings help formulate a sound work culture.