Multiple professionals engage in a meeting.

How to Avoid Meeting Overload in Job Interviews

Meetings are a common feature of any workplace, especially when the organization has many departments to contend with. They are often the one way to bring all of the employees together to get them all on the same page.

But what about when meetings are happening more frequently throughout the workweek? Oftentimes, to allow employees to get their work completed, they have to come in early or stay late to accommodate the influx of meetings they have to attend regularly.

Wondering how you can avoid meeting overload in the workplace and when you are setting up job interviews? Keep reading to find out how.

What is Meeting Overload?

By definition, meeting overload is the phenomenon of having to attend more meetings throughout the workweek than is necessary. This can result in less productivity because the work itself cannot be done within the workday.

Meeting overload often leads people to have to come in earlier or stay later than usual just to ensure that they are getting their work done. Over time, employees begin to feel overwhelmed with the number of meetings they are having to attend and the additional work time they have to put in as a result.

Overall, most companies have gotten carried away with the need for meetings sometimes for the sake of having a meeting. Meeting overload occurs when there are more meetings that you are required to attend thus having to be creative to get your work done.

How Does Meeting Overload Affect the Workplace?

For most people, having to go to yet another meeting can be grueling especially when you are in the midst of a project or workflow. To add to the pain points, people are forced to adjust their work hours to accommodate the many meetings they are scheduled to attend.

Over time, this can lead employees to a feeling of being burnt out especially when they feel they are burning their candle at both ends. Because of this, organizations often begin to see high turnover rates as a result of too many expectations.

Whether your employees are in the position of their dreams or not can easily be changed when they are required to attend meeting after meeting. When this overload occurs, they will often begin seeking other job opportunities for themselves.

The bottom line is that when you or upper management insist on meeting after meeting, you can expect that it will negatively affect the workplace. As a result, you may be spending more time and money on replacing valuable employees.

How Do You Determine Whether Your Organization is Suffering from Meeting Overload?

Are you wondering how you can determine whether or not your organization is suffering from meeting overload? You should not worry since this is the easiest part to figure out when it comes to remedying the situation.

The most obvious way to determine whether your employees are suffering from meeting overload is to ask them. If they seem bothered or distracted at the various meetings, there is typically a reason behind it.

Another way to find out if your employees are overwhelmed with the number of meetings they have to attend is whether or not their productivity has suffered. Employees who are on the verge of burnout usually show signs such as slowed productivity.

Initially, to accommodate the number of meetings every week that have to be juggled, good employees will usually come in early or stay late. After a while, however, this can take a toll on how they feel about their job overall.

A meeting takes place at a long table with several attendees.
Meeting overload can be very damaging in all types of business industries. 

Why Do Organizations Schedule So Many Meetings?

Meetings have been in existence for probably as long as anyone can remember and for various situations. No matter what industry you work in, you are most likely subjected to meetings at some time or another.

Over the years, however, the number of meetings has increased exponentially, which leads many to wonder why. With the advancement of technology, you have to wonder why there are still so many meetings in various organizations.

Here are a few reasons why organizations schedule so many meetings:

  • In many businesses, it has become a tradition to have certain meetings throughout the workweek. Because of this, no one has the desire to rock the proverbial boat to make needed changes.
  • With a sense of urgency that dictates many factors in the workplace today, meetings have become a way to keep track of the details. Having several meetings on the same topic is seen as keeping the urgency of the situation alive.
  • Some companies live under the belief that meetings are a way of keeping the lines of communication open between employees in various departments. While technology exists that can prove otherwise, meetings remain a large part of these organizations.

Keep in mind that there are most likely several other reasons organizations have so many meetings on the schedule throughout the workweek. These listed above serve as a few of the most common reasons.

What are Some Effective Ways to Avoid Meeting Overload?

In most companies, the need to find effective ways to avoid meeting overload is one of the most important steps that need to be taken. This is mostly because they see the rate of turnovers increasing at a rapid pace.

Companies that see the need to make changes and avoid the meeting overload trap, often need to look outside of their organization. This is because there are many businesses out there that have already reduced the number of meetings that are held throughout the week and have increased their productivity and employee loyalty.

If you and your company are looking for effective ways to avoid meeting overload, then read on.

Make it Okay for Employees to Opt Out

While many companies try to do a good job of including every employee in the decision-making process, some meetings do not require all employees to attend. This is especially true when certain deadlines need to take priority.

As you are scheduling meetings, take the time to analyze the agenda and decide whether or not it requires all employees to attend or just a few departments. Once you have analyzed the agenda, you should then make it clear to employees that they are not required to attend and can opt-out if other projects take priority.

You can then follow up the meeting with an email that has meeting minutes attached with all of the pertinent information included. This way, employees can review the information and not feel like they were left out, and even ask for further clarification if needed.

Create a Culture of Work First

Even though it is understood that some meetings need to be prioritized over certain other work, this is not the case with everything. Employees need to feel that their work takes priority over any meeting that they may have on the calendar.

To build a culture where work comes first, you may need to consider having meetings at other times of the day that the majority of employees can attend without missing out on their work time.

In some companies, staff meetings are scheduled 15-minutes before or after an employee’s work day to allow them to complete their tasks during regular business hours. Other companies will hold several meetings throughout the day to allow employees to choose when they can attend.

Consider Canceling if Needed

Although having a regularly scheduled meeting can help employees feel more comfortable and consistent, there are times when meetings do not need to occur. If you have a set schedule where a meeting is held during a specific date or time throughout the week, understand that this can be flexible.

If you and other members of your management team do not have anything specific to talk to all employees about, you may want to consider canceling the meeting. This will most likely give employees a surprising relief to not have to sit through another meeting.

Before you cancel, however, you should ensure that there is not anything time-sensitive that needs to be handled. You can do this by sending an email out to all employees letting them know that the meeting will be canceled, however, if they have something on their mind they can email their concerns to you directly.

Hold Meetings to a Specific Agenda and Time

If there are meetings on the schedule that absolutely cannot be rescheduled due to time-sensitive issues, be sure to have an agenda ready. This agenda can be sent out ahead of time to let employees know how much time they will be setting aside for the meeting.

As you set up your agenda, consider including some times specific to the various topics to give you and your employees an idea of how long the meeting will be. This will often calm the annoyance that typically comes with scheduled meetings.

The most important factor in this suggestion is that you not only set up the agenda but that you follow the times you have set aside for each topic. Nothing is worse than expecting a meeting to last for 30 minutes and it ends up being much longer.

Have Employees Send Additional Talking Points in Advance

Many organizations set time aside during meetings where employees can bring up specific questions about the company or projects. While this is a valuable piece of a meeting and can help build a collaborative culture, it can also become time-consuming.

To avoid meetings going on for an extended period, you may want to consider having employees submit questions and additional talking points ahead of time. While many people may not have a question until the meeting itself, you can still avoid long meetings by doing this one thing.

If new information or procedures are brought up during the meeting, oftentimes many questions arise as a result. Many experts suggest creating a “parking lot” where employees can use a post-it note to leave questions can sometimes be a lifesaver. These questions can then be answered via email after the meeting.

Steps to Take if Your Organization Has Too Many Meetings

So, what do you do if your organization already has too many meetings? What steps can you take to change the culture of meeting overload when it already exists?

Many organizations believe that changing the culture of meeting overload is something that cannot be done easily. But, the good news is that it is a problem that can be fixed with a little time and organization.

There are several ways to overcome the meeting overload that already exists within your company. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Cancel all meetings for a few days to take inventory
  • Choose which ones are a must
  • Reboot calendars with only the most important meetings
  • Include all employees in the culture change
  • Consider feedback from your employees

One woman interviews another while sitting at a table
Holding your employees responsible for conducting interviews can contribute to meeting overload. 

Can There Be Meeting Overload in Job Interviews?

While for the most part, meeting overload mostly exists for employees already in the workforce, it can exist when it comes to job interviews. This phenomenon can occur to both managers and job candidates alike in many different ways.

For management, it is well known that meetings throughout the workweek can be grueling and time-consuming, this can be exacerbated by the need to conduct several job interviews. It can become overloaded when these interviews are stuck in between all of the other meetings and tasks that have to be done regularly.

For job candidates, there is such a thing as too many interviews in one day or even a week. Even though the goal of a job search is to find the right position for you, it can get overwhelming if you have overextended yourself with too many meetings.

One way job interviews can fall into the category of meeting overload is when the manager or job candidate mixes up their information. On both sides of the table, you can be viewed as somewhat disorganized or even uninterested if you are not careful.

How to Stop Meeting Overload in Job Interviews

To remedy meeting overload while also conducting job interviews, it is a good idea to hire a recruiting company. This way, they can weed out some of the candidates that are less than desirable and lower the amount of interview-related meetings for your employees. 

Some recruiting companies have candidates that are pre-screened as well, and this can help to lower the number of interviews that need to take place in general. Additionally, employees acquired through a staffing management company are less likely to be the types that are attending interviews all day long, making it a win-win situation. 

Ready to Rid Your Organization of Meeting Overload?

The bottom line when it comes to how to avoid meeting overload whether in job interviews or the workplace in general is to ensure that your time is being well spent. The philosophy of creating a work-life balance should always be considered before adding more and more meetings to your daily and weekly schedules.

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