9 Effective Methods to Foster Employee Engagement in Virtual Meetings
To help you enhance employee engagement in virtual meetings, we’ve gathered nine effective methods from CEOs and founders. From emulating the physical office in virtual space to utilizing breakout rooms, discover the strategies these leaders have successfully implemented in their own virtual environments.
- Emulate the Physical Office in Virtual Space
- Engage Employees with Interactive Polls
- Foster Participation Through Shared Agendas
- Empower Employees with Interactive Agendas
- Encourage Team Participation in Meetings
- Structure Meetings for Effective Engagement
- Keep Meetings Short and Focused
- Add a Personal Touch to Virtual Meetings
- Utilize Breakout Rooms
Emulate the Physical Office in Virtual Space
We have created a virtual workspace that resembles a physical office.
Joining the developers’ rooms initiates a conversation right away; no need to call. If there’s a need to invite someone else, audio is broadcasted with a message like, “Hey Bryan, come over to Gabriel’s room.” Every team member has their own office with their own decoration, including pictures and colors. For example, one could be a beach house office.
Some common rooms have been created, such as the virtual water cooler. This greatly improves the culture, since everyone is working remotely. During the meetings, a Miro board is used where brainstorming can be done together.
Previously, Slack was used, but it was becoming too bureaucratic. Sending a message in a group to schedule a meeting was required. Now, it feels like there’s 10x more productivity.
Engage Employees with Interactive Polls
As a remote employee and a founder of a startup focusing on virtual team building, we have tried several tips and tricks to improve employee engagement in virtual meetings. Many people claim that participants should have their camera on (this increases fatigue); others support the idea that fancy or animated presentations will impress the audience (also not the point).
If one tool were to be chosen, it would be interactive polls and surveys. Tools like Slido, Poll Everywhere, or built-in features on platforms like Zoom can create real-time polls and interactive surveys. These are great tools to include everybody in the meeting and to make data-driven discussions and decisions.
Foster Participation Through Shared Agendas
One method I’ve championed is the “Interactive Agenda” approach for virtual meetings. Prior to the meeting, team members are encouraged to contribute topics or questions to a shared agenda. During the meeting, each contributor takes the lead on their respective topic, fostering active participation. This ensures diverse viewpoints are heard and instills a sense of ownership and anticipation.
The result? A more engaged and collaborative virtual meeting experience. For leaders navigating the virtual workspace, I recommend embracing strategies that give every participant a voice and a role, ensuring meetings remain dynamic and participatory.
Empower Employees with Interactive Agendas
Implementing interactive agendas is one successful method to encourage staff involvement in virtual meetings. Rather than having one person present information, interactive agendas encourage participation by assigning different team members specific topics to present or questions to address.
This approach serves multiple purposes. First, by giving each employee a segment to lead, you empower them, making them more invested in the meeting’s success. They are more likely to come prepared, actively listen to their colleagues, and provide thoughtful input, elevating the overall discussion quality.
Second, this distributed agenda ownership ensures that the meeting captures diverse perspectives. It reduces the possibility of any single voice dominating the conversation and increases the likelihood that quieter team members will share their valuable insights.
Encourage Team Participation in Meetings
As a global company, most of our meetings are online. In order to recreate the sense of workplace camaraderie that virtual meetings can lack, we try to ensure that every employee has a chance to share perspectives or updates on their work in each meeting.
This helps ensure that everyone feels like they are an active participant, and it gives employees a sense of being part of a team. Breakout rooms can be used if meetings are large, with summaries of what was discussed in each room fed back to the whole once you come back together.
Structure Meetings for Effective Engagement
Splitting the meeting up into meaningful segments is more effective than letting nature take its course, like many in-person meetings that only have a loose agenda.
The goal of a good virtual meeting is to cover everything that needs to be covered, agree on future actions, and then give everyone some time back to go on with their day. It doesn’t have quite the same face-to-face feel as an in-person meeting. That means structuring the meeting with a clear agenda, discussing what needs to be addressed, deciding on the next steps, and setting the time for the next meeting.
Keep Meetings Short and Focused
Short meetings are more productive and engaging. When meetings are too long, employees may lose focus and become disinterested. We try to keep each meeting to 30 minutes or less, and we make sure to start and end on time. This helps to keep everyone engaged and ensures that the meeting is effective.
We also make sure that the meeting is focused on the topic at hand and that we don’t get sidetracked by unrelated discussions or issues. By keeping the meeting short and focused, we’re able to foster employee engagement and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Additionally, we try to limit each team member’s speaking time to two minutes. That time is enough if you know what you have to say and what applies to say in a team meeting. This ensures that everyone has a chance to participate and that the meeting doesn’t drag on.
Add a Personal Touch to Virtual Meetings
Starting a virtual meeting with a personal touch can be a great way to engage employees. Begin by sharing a brief snippet of your weekend activities or upcoming plans. This not only humanizes the meeting but also encourages a friendly atmosphere. When employees see you initiating personal conversations, it sets a positive tone for engagement.
As others chime in about their weekends or plans, it sparks organic conversations and helps build camaraderie among team members, creating a more engaging virtual meeting environment.
Utilize Breakout Rooms
Break participants into smaller groups using breakout rooms to facilitate more intimate discussions. This encourages active participation, allows quieter team members to speak up, and fosters collaboration. Afterward, bring everyone back together to share insights from the smaller groups.
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