Long before I started my business, I spent years working with facility managers, helping them build and strengthen their teams.
One of the most underutilized resources was pre-shift and post-shift team huddles. Huddles not only create a sense of belonging for team members but also provide a platform for managers to communicate expectations. It also helps to take the team's temperature when changes have occurred, or new initiatives are coming up the pike.
Oftentimes, huddles are looked upon as major time-suckers by both employees and management. Similar to traditional meetings, huddles can absolutely be a waste of time if run by inexperienced or incompetent managers who fail to plan and focus the huddles on specific areas of importance.
Here are some ways to make huddles effective, productive, and super enjoyable for everyone on the team.
HAVE A PLAN.
It doesn't have to be grand, after all, huddles are usually a daily thing. All you need is a basic outline of how you want to conduct your huddle. Then simply stick with it!
Generally huddles last anywhere from 3 -10 minutes. It's important to be brief and train team members to communicate in a concise way in order to stay within the timeframe set.
Communicate what the major focuses are for the day as well as for the week. Huddles reinforce expectations and team members leave with a thorough understanding of what the priorities are. No guessing is necessary.
Nothing is worse than having a huddle and hearing a manager drone on and on. Huddles are a great opportunity to shine the light on team members and liven things up. There are endless possibilities when it comes to things you can incorporate into your huddles.
Here are just a few ways to liven things up:
- Giving Gratitude / Kudos
- Company Updates
- Stretching / Ergonomics
- Question of the day (What is your favorite...Do you prefer...If you had to choose...)
- Pick A Random Huddle Master (names in a cup, draw one...choose by seniority...choose by nearest birthday month...)
There are two things you should always consider. First, work within your timeframe. There is a big difference between 3 and 10 minutes. Plan accordingly. You want to provide quick, valuable, and relevant information that will help your team complete work to the best of their ability, in the timeframe they are given, with quality results.
Second, know your audience. If your team is financially driven, make sure you include statistics and figures to drive the point home. If the team is customer driven, include customer feedback or ways to improve client relations. Make it mean something to the team.
Huddles are effective if done right. No two teams are the same. It's a wonderful opportunity to uniquely make it special. With a little planning, you can conduct huddles that not only inspire but creates anticipation your team looks forward to every day.