What are the Top Employee Benefits?

What are the Top Employee Benefits?

The top issue shaping employers’ benefits strategies in 2017 is their desire to improve employee engagement, however budget restraints remain the biggest barrier to introducing the benefits they would like to offer.

When tight budgets are in place, it is crucial that employees are taken into consideration and asked what benefits they would appreciate and be of substantial value to them.

Key Findings 
  • 82% of respondents offer benefits because they are an effective retention tool
  • 76% of respondents identify budget as a barrier to offering new benefits
  • 73% of respondents will use more targeted communications to adapt to future benefits challenges
  • 36% of respondents’ organisations offer enhanced parental leave
  • 66% of respondents’ organisations measure employee engagement through an annual employee survey

Top employee benefits

Extra holidays for long service

Companies are going above and beyond their standard number of holidays and offering extras to create loyalty amongst employees. 53% of employers are offering extra holidays to reward employees for long service.

Unlimited holidays

The number of companies offering unlimited time off is growing, see our blog post on unlimited time off to find out more on this benefit.

Maternity/Paternity leave

Netflix is one of the leaders in Maternity benefits, they offer unlimited maternity or paternity during the first year after their child’s birth or adoption. Employees can take unlimited time off and choose to return to work on a full or part time basis. Following this, 38% of organisations globally, now offer paid paternity leave above the statutory minimum.

There is a rise in the trend of an increase of benefits to support Mothers returning from maternity leave including flexible return to work, mentoring and counselling.

Flexible working

61% of employers offer flexible-working initiatives, this has risen from 54% in 2016. Part-time hours, working from home and career breaks or sabbaticals are all popular elements of flexible working.

Flexible hours give employees the opportunity to meet family needs and life responsibilities without any guilt whilst reducing employee burnout and allowing employees to enjoy their working schedule.

There are many benefits in offering flexible working to employers including increased employee morale and engagement, employee loyalty and reduced absenteeism.


Private medical insurance remains the top healthcare and wellbeing benefit to be offered by employers, with 79% offering it to employees which has risen from 71% in 2016. (Staffcare)

Employers that offer a range of health and wellbeing benefits can help to create a supportive culture, an inclusive offer of fitness benefits such as gym membership or exercise classes and healthcare rewards such as medical or dental insurance will appeal to most generations.

But not all wellness and healthcare benefits appeal to everyone, it’s difficult to create a program that will cover everybody’s needs. By offering a budget for employees to spend on whichever healthcare benefits they like, gives them the opportunity to create their own benefits plan.

The Staffcare Employee Benefits report 2017 highlights what benefits employers are offering at the moment and why. The survey was conducted in February – March 2017 among users of www.employeebenefits.co.uk and received 271 responses.

Unlimited Holidays – Too good to be true?

An unlimited holiday allowance is not a new phenomenon but up until recently it was a benefit which was rarely found outside of Silicon Valley tech companies. Although most companies offering this benefit are US-based, companies such as digital agency VisualSoft, social media agency Social Chain and technology platform JustPark are leading the way in the UK.

What is unlimited holiday?

An unlimited holiday or vacation entitlement means an employee is able to take paid time off work whenever they want to throughout the year. For most companies there are no strict rules attached to this perk, however, it appears to be an unwritten assumption for most companies that the employee’s work must be completed before taking said time off. Richard Branson says that all Virgin employees are able to take time off whenever they wish as long as it, “will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers”.

Where did the unlimited holiday policy originate?

Netflix started in 2001 and was one of the first notable companies to offer unlimited paid leave, however, Brazilian company Semco has been offering this to their employees since 1981. When Semco first started implementing this policy the company was worth $4 million. They are now worth over $1 billion dollars.

Which companies are adopting unlimited holiday?

Crimson Hexagon, LinkedIn, HubSpot, JustPark, Grant Thornton and Eventbrite are just some of the companies offering this benefit in the UK. Although the list is ever increasing it seems to be proving more popular with technology firms and start-ups. But, I’m fairly confident that many organisations will follow.

Positive reasons for unlimited holidays

Times have changed

“Flexible working has revolutionised how, where and when we all do our jobs. So, if working nine to five no longer applies, then why should strict annual leave policies?”

One of the main reasons for unlimited holidays the movement away from a traditional 9-5 role. As this becomes more elusive, so does standardising holiday. With advances in technology employees no longer need to be in the office to access their emails and take calls. Traditional hours are on the way out, as they don’t always suit employees, with many companies offering more flexible ways of working.


An unlimited holiday policy can convey trust to employees. By handing the responsibility to employees it makes them accountable for ensuring their work is on track prior to taking any time off.

Focus on results

Whereas staying late at the office used to score you brownie points, society has adapted its thinking and is now more in favour of employees that ‘work smart.’ Efficiency is key at Netflix and if you are able to manage your workflow effectively they believe you should be rewarded for this.

We should focus on what people get done, not how many hours or days worked.

A way of attracting talent

On the surface, the benefit of unlimited holidays is undoubtedly a great way to attract talent. Company review website, Glassdoor states, “Unlimited time-off can play a massive part in recruiting and retaining top talent. Allowing employees to recharge at their own pace, without having to meticulously count their annual leave days. Perhaps it could even result in more productive employees?”

Negative reasons for unlimited holidays

How much time off is appropriate?

Unlimited holidays is a relatively uncommon compensation policy so it can lead to employees wondering, ‘how much time is appropriate to take off from work?’. UK-based technology company, Triggertrap saw employees take an average of 15 days annual leave when they adopted the unlimited holiday policy. 13 days under the statutory minimum.

Feeling pressured

Some employees may feel pressured to not take time off for various reasons. They may feel guilty about leaving their colleagues to deal with their workload. Or they may feel that their manager will judge them if they’re seen to be taking too much time off.

Some employees may even feel internal pressure, as according to behavioural scientists our decisions are anchored by social norms.

Will it make much difference?

If you had unlimited holidays how many days in a year would you take off? In 2015, business media brand, Fast Company rolled out an unlimited holidays policy to their employees. They found that employees took roughly the same amount of holidays compared to the previous year when they were on a traditional paid time off system.

Doesn’t work for every company

Unlimited holidays inevitably won’t work for every industry, company or department. In particular, Elliott Manning, MD at Kayman Recruitment, believes it wouldn’t work for recruitment companies, “If a recruiter takes three or four weeks off it’s going to affect their pipeline and ultimately over a three-month period of the year, that’s going to affect business. The one-month build up, the month they’re away and the month they come back they are starting again.”

How can you adapt unlimited holidays to suit your business?

Call it something different

Fast Company suggest that adapting the name may help make the policy more successful. “Unlimited” conveys time off as indulgent whereas adapting the name to “flexible,” “self-managed,” “personalized,” or “responsible PTO” may be a better option to help employees understand the purpose behind the policy.

Incentivise time off

If you are worried that employees may feel guilty about taking time off why not incentivise it? That’s what companies such as Evernote and FullContact do. Employees at Evernote are given $1000 spending money if they take at least a week off at a time. FullContact have a policy called, ‘paid paid vacation’, where each employee is given a very generous $7500 per year if they go on vacation.

The rules to gain the $7500 are simple. They have to go on vacation, they must disconnect and they can’t work while they are away.

Unlimited Holiday – a good idea?

Ultimately it really depends on your business and your way of working. However, if you expect your employees to go above and beyond to achieve results, shouldn’t they have a compensation policy which reflects this?

How to improve employee engagement

A 2017 study from totaljobs shows that 28% of employers are having trouble engaging their workforce.

Employees who aren’t engaged lack enthusiasm and are no longer company ambassadors.

So how can you make sure your employees are fully engaged?

Employee feedback

Employee feedback can assure employees that you are taking an interest in their needs.

22% of companys survey employees quarterly or more often, 79% survey employees annually or less and 14% never survey employees at all. But you need to be paying attention to what your employees want and what they are doing on a daily basis, how can you make their life easier whilst improving your productivity and engagement?

By putting an emphasis on creating insights, Managers can better understand what motivates their staff and what makes them engage.

But it doesn’t stop after the surveys have been completed, you need to share the results with your employees and implement change as a result, otherwise they will be less willing to help in the future.

The working environment

Following employee feedback listen to what your employees want in their office.

Cultural differences need to be addressed, especially with International companies as different cultures will require adjusted engagement programs tailored to their employees.

Some popular working environment choices include natural lighting, improved break out areas and art or bright imagery on the walls.

Training opportunities

Repeating the same task every day without the stimulation of new initiatives will disengage your employees therefore career and skills progression will motivate employees and encourage them to aim towards future goals.

Employees expect continuous learning and new performance management practices to facilitate regular discussions about capabilities and skills, helping employees to learn where to focus and what to adopt.


Giving employees the opportunity to get to know their colleagues outside of the work environment is one of the most important elements to keeping employees satisfied and engaged. 54% of employers said that strong work relationships improve company culture and 70% of employers say friendships are good for morale and it’s positive to see team members in close relationships.

However, 34% of employees don’t think they have enough interaction with their colleagues .

Recognition and Incentives

Introducing a healthy element of competition into your culture can encourage productivity.

By creating a culture of recognition you introduce healthy competition, frequent and genuine praise can go a long way and mean a lot to your employees.

Are we doing enough to help employers track their cool credentials?

Recently I found myself pondering the latest CoolBrands survey – an annual survey into the coolest brands in Britain – and whilst looking over the Top 20 coolest brands for 2016/17 it dawned on me that employer brand managers could take more notice of ‘cool’. It’s a pretty safe bet that being cool and being a desirable employer is closely related. There are strong indications that people often want to work for the brands that make them feel good about themselves, enhance their social status and help them build a positive identity.

The body behind the CoolBrands survey – the centre for brand analysis –canvasses the opinions of independent experts and 2,500 members of the British public to identify the UK’s coolest brands. They’ve been announcing the coolest brands every September since 2001. It will be interesting to see how many in the 2016/17 CoolBrands Top 20 retain their Top 20 status next month.

The CoolBrands Top 20 for 2016/17 is as follows

1. Apple

2. Glastonbury

3. Netflix

4. Aston Martin

5. Nike

6. Instagram

7. Spotify

8. Adidas

9. PlayStation

10. YouTube

11. Google

12. Airbnb

13. Alexander McQueen

14. Bose

15. M.A.C

16. Sonos

17. Harley-Davidson

18. Gopro


20. Ray-Ban

Coolness is subjective and dynamic: What consumers consider cool changes over time and across consumers. What millennial candidates think is cool is likely to be different from what a candidate over fifty thinks is cool. The talent management and employer branding industry ought to be doing more to provide client firms with the means to regularly track their cool credentials, in the same way that we help them keep tabs on their brand consideration ratings or willingness to recommend scores (NPS). I’m thinking a dedicated cool tracker.

And we should not just track their coolness ratings. Consumers find it easy to say what brands are cool, but it’s much more difficult for them to say what features make a brand cool. Consumers know what is cool when they see it but they can’t always explain why. We should do more to help employers get to grips with what makes a brand appealing; how that might vary by business sector and whether you need to possess all of those things to be a cool brand.

Evidence suggests the following may be central to what makes a brand cool and so would need to be reflected in any dedicated cool tracker:

  • At the forefront of technological innovation
  • A deep understanding of the audience through immersion in their world
  • An understanding of how the target audience feels (cool is an emotion)
  • A disruptive vision
  • Originality
  • Unmistakeable quality
  • A strong (social) mission
  • An emotional connection with consumers – a brand they can love
  • Opportunities for consumers to engage with the product or service
  • Opportunities for consumers to express their individuality
  • In touch with the evolving lives of consumers
  • In touch with the consumer agenda
  • Faithful to the brand’s roots but in a contemporary, relevant way
  • Connected with the wider culture

Interestingly, celebrity endorsements are not key to being cool. At best, they will buy you some cool by association but it won’t be real. Simon Massey, of The Gild consultancy, once summed up coolness as a well-maintained combination of the zeitgeist, how you want consumers to feel, the brand’s roots, a strong stance, and stylish execution.

With our vast experience of building and managing employer brands based on real insight and intelligence via market watch reporting, competitor benchmarking and candidate insight, we in the talent management and employer branding industry are well positioned to help client firms track their cool credentials and better understand the drivers of coolness, through a dedicated cool tracker.

I’m confident there would be a strong appetite amongst employers for such a tracker.

A cool employer brands survey would mark a significant evolution in the way we build and manage employer brands. It would also go a long way towards syncing the consumer brand and the employer brand.

To quote Martina Alexander, marketing manager at Wonderbra: “cool is a perception”. So, let’s get tracking it.

Want to track your cool credentials?

More information on the CoolBrands Survey can be found at: www.coolbrands.uk.com

Katharine Newton is Head of Insight at Talent Works International (TWI). TWI is a global talent communications firm that helps organisations around the world build effective and efficient talent strategies through our research, sourcing and creative teams. For more information, contact: Katharine.newton@talent-works.com

What’s in it for me?

It’s something our research for corporate clients has uncovered time and time again; it is the employees in an organisation that provide the biggest advantage and greatest differentiator. As one of the greatest assets to a business, leaders should be doing their utmost to position employees for success through motivation and appreciation, whether incentives are tangible or not.

The most effective approaches integrate employee wellbeing initiatives that speak to a brand’s agenda and therefore employee experience.

The background

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows how employment can support workers, at the most basic level, in providing shelter and sustenance, thus fulfilling their most primitive physiological needs. Beyond this, long term income can also offer safety and security, as well as driving awareness of personal health through the provision of employer-funded health insurance. However, with the ongoing political, social and technological changes happening globally and the resulting uncertainty this is causing, employees’ basic needs for belonging, confidence, and personal fulfilment are threatened. Such sentiments are becoming apparent among employees worldwide and are exemplified in the findings from Aon’s most recent employee engagement survey (2017). Having moved up the ranks from third place in last year’s research, ‘Rewards & Recognition’ were identified by global workforces as the top engagement opportunity for organisations worldwide.

What recognition do we want?

The type of recognition employees seek from employers has also undergone transition, fundamentally changing the way recognition and reward are viewed in the workplace. Bill Alexander, CEO Red Letter Days for Business, has observed a shift away from cash rewards in favour of more authentic, personal and meaningful rewards that focus on well-being, work life balance, charitable and environmental health or unique one-off experiences.

How is it being done

As such, companies are increasingly exploring a variety of approaches that will create a positive work environment and aid productivity. One example is UK telecommunications provider Sky who have developed ‘Sky Street’ in their West-London main office. This is a new boulevard that traverses the buildings and walkways around the campus to unite their 7,500 employees under a common interest – food and drink. The concept is intended to offer a dynamic alternative to corporate canteens and unite staff to further Sky’s vision and encourage regular, healthy eating habits among colleagues.

Such a differentiated employee offering not only evokes a real sense of cohesion amongst the workers, but also furthers Sky’s ambitions to develop a workplace culture that incorporates their vision for the brand, and ultimately, employee experience.

What about the figures?

Conducting an annual incentive survey amongst our own employees has also highlighted the value of offering a recognition programme and allowing employees a say in what that looks like. In last year’s survey, for example, 56% of respondents were driven to work harder and 55% felt motivated to ‘go above and beyond what is expected’ to be in with the chance of going on an all-expenses paid holiday with other award winners. We actioned the feedback and incorporated recognition options to suit everyone. One year on and we asked the same questions, this time 64% of employees felt motivated to help the business achieve its goals and 67% are now working to go above and beyond what is expected.

So that’s how it’s done. By listening to your employees and working around them. Keen to keep your place in the market? Show an awareness of employees needs beyond the four walls of the office.

Alicia Exworthy is an Insight Consultant at Talent Works International (TWI). TWI is a global talent communications firm that helps organisations around the world build effective and efficient talent strategies through our research, sourcing and creative teams.

Is your careers site user friendly?

To target the right talent, first you have to understand what your candidates are looking for.

People look for ease and convenience in every aspect of their lives and finding a new job opportunity is no different. When candidates are applying for positions it is crucial that the process is clear, efficient and easy to use. If not, it can have a substantial impact on the amount of applications received, as candidates can drop off at different stages of the process.

To ensure your candidate journey is a positive one, here are the 4 main points of a careers site you need to get right:

Simple Navigation

Your careers website is a key area for prospective candidates to find out more about your company. To ensure you capture job seekers’ attentions you should ensure that key information is readily available and easy to find.

We recommend using a one-click application button where candidates can upload their CV easily on either a desktop or mobile device. As well as this if you have an online chat facility on your web page already it’s a great idea for a pop up message to appear after a short period of time that encourages candidates to apply. Furthermore, having predictive search on your job search bar will help candidates to find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently.

Red Bull Careers website – Predictive Search Bar

Optimised for mobile

Studies show that 89% of job seekers think mobile devices play a critical role in the job hunting process It is critical that if a candidate visits your website on their mobile they need to have the same positive experience they would do if they were on a desktop. To ensure this happens we recommend making sure your website is optimised for mobile or building a mobile design.

People spend less time viewing web pages when on a mobile device so we suggest using limited but attractive visual content, readable text, user friendly forms and concise language to keep candidates engaged.

Pinterest mobile careers page – focuses on visual content


Candidates want answers to their questions quickly and with the availability of live chat, they have a direct line at their fingertips. More and more companies are adding a chat facility to their careers page which adds a personal feel and can be monitored 24/7.

As well as using live chat we recommend putting all available contact channels on the website. Many large organisations have a Twitter account dedicated to careers so candidates can follow the dedicated page for the latest vacancy updates.

Spotify have a dedicated Twitter account to promote their vacancies

Keep it clear

The main objective for a careers site is to convert visitors to applicants. Making the application process as simple as possible is the key to success.

We recommend making the application as short as possible as studies show, 60% of potential candidates have quit a job application process because it was too lengthy. Single page applications may not work for every organisation but research has shown that the lowest number of applicant drop offs occur from the shortest application processes.

Spending time to look at how user friendly your careers site is will help greatly reduce the frustrations users may face and, in turn, reduce drop offs.

Interested in making your careers site more user friendly? Take a look at a site we made for Sage for inspiration.

8 Generation Z statistics you need to know if you’re in Recruitment

Only just caught up with the demographic known as the ‘Millennials’ or ‘Generation Y’? well there’s a new cohort in town, aptly termed ‘Generation Z.’ With typical birth dates ranging from mid-1990s to mid-2000s our first batch of Gen Z workers are about to graduate and infiltrate the UK workforce.

We’ve collated the main statistics to give HR and Recruitment professionals an insight into how best to attract and retain this new talent.

Recent Graduates are three times more likely to stay in their first job role for five or more years if their skills are fully utilised

Continuous learning and development, company culture and meaningful work are important factors to Generation Z workers. If these key objectives are met they are three times more likely to stay with their first employer for five or more years.

88% expect their first employer to provide training

With Gen Z workers being keen to continue their learning and develop additional skills, 88% expect their first employer to provide training. Role rotation programmes that allow graduates to experience many aspects of the business are becoming increasingly popular.

83% of new graduates are willing to relocate to another city or region

Gen Z workers are extremely flexible in regards to location with 83% being willing to relocate for a new role.

65% think it’s acceptable to be contacted during out of hours – more than double compared to baby boomers

As well as being flexible with location, Gen Z are also extremely accommodating when it comes to their personal time. Only 35% don’t think it’s acceptable to be contacted by their employer on evenings and weekends.

Nearly two-thirds would choose a fun, positive social atmosphere at work over salary

Although Gen Z can be flexible they expect the same from their employers in return. They’re top concern is work-life , so much so that 63% would choose an engaging employee experience over salary.

Nearly three-quarters of 2017 graduates have already completed an internship or apprenticeship

An astonishing 73% of Gen Z graduates have already completed an internship or apprenticeship before graduation which highlights their undeniable maturity. Not only that, 86% of graduates would consider taking an internship after graduation, if it would help them land a job after completion.

74% prefer to communicate with their team members face-to-face

Contrary to popular assumptions, we discovered that Gen Z prefer to interact with their team face-to-face over any other form of communication. The next was email at 18%, hardly a close second.

72% agree that employees should be allowed to use their personal phone during work hours

Unusually, Gen Z are on a similar level with Baby boomers (72%) when it comes to personal phone usage during work hours. Although, Generation X and Y are more liberal coming in at 80% and 83% respectively.

To find out more about Generation Z and other demographic cohorts check out our blog on multi-gen workplaces.

How to improve your employer brand with Glassdoor

Glassdoor is changing the way candidates search for jobs and how companies recruit the best talent.

With 32 million unique monthly users worldwide, Glassdoor is one of the key components for building and maintaining an employer brand.

We all use online reviews, whether we’re buying a new car or looking for a holiday, so why not when looking for a new job?

Glassdoor is easy to use and gives current and past employees the freedom to review their company experience, whilst offering the transparency job seekers crave, and giving them an insight into organisations.

But how can Glassdoor help your employer brand?

Glassdoor allows companies to let their employees do the talking and tell their story, they can anonymously review their interview experience, employee experience and their salary and benefits package.

A strong employer brand promotes everything the company has to offer to a candidate, not just the salary and benefits but the company culture and values too. Candidates need to have a reason to want to work for you, and a strong employer can promote these reasons.

Enhance your profile

An employer’s profile should be consistentith existing brand guidelines and it should promote a clean, compelling message that candidates can easily understand.

The ‘why work for us’ section should be utilised to promote and inform candidates about a company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP), it is important to tailor this to potential candidates. Tell them what your company is all About and why you stand out from the competition. By tailoring this section to the candidate and using ‘you’ heavily, you can assist candidates envision where they fit in the structure of the organisation. See where they could have an impact.  Be inspired to apply.

Make the most of your reviews

Encourage your current workforce to become influencers and review their time at the company. Your employee’s reviews go along away, and without them your Glassdoor profile will lack impact. If your employees don’t back your employer brand then no-one will. This is the place to start.

3 in 4 Glassdoor users are more likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (Glassdoor.com US Site Survey, August 2016). By responding to reviews companies are building trust amongst employees and candidates, thank employees for reviews whether they are critical or not, show your engagement and willingness to take criticism on board and use this feedback to make changes within the company. The best actions come from inside the business, and they, in turn, frame people’s perception. Get them right and you’re half way there.

Advertise your jobs

By pairing rich insights with the latest vacancies, Glassdoor is the perfect place to advertise.

Your profile should influence candidates enough to look at any open vacancies at your company, and if these are easily accessible on the same site then it is a huge convenience for them. Cutting out the hassle and giving them the information they are searching for.

If you promote your employer brand with complete transparency and consistency you will be able to attract the right talent through Glassdoor.

Looking to improve your employer brand? Find out more about our Brand & Insight services here.

Are meetings a waste of time?

“We have too many meetings” is a frequent complaint in business. Publications such as The New York Times and Forbes give some quick remedies to our suspicions that not all meetings are necessary.  These with other articles recycle solutions such as:

  • Halving the time of your meetings
  • Chair your meeting standing up
  • Avoiding holding a meeting unless you know what you wish to accomplish

… and so on.

A new article from the Harvard Business Review has gone a step further to quantify the problem, with some simple steps to remedying.

Executives now spend an average of nearly 23 hours in meetings; 10 hours more than back in the 1960s. This does not include the impromptu gatherings that don’t make it onto the official calendar.

Are meetings an efficient use of our time?

HBR surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries: 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.

While there’s no denying that meetings provide real benefits such as enabling collaboration, creativity, and innovation some can be counterproductive. In a recent survey conducted by HBR only 17% of senior executives reported that their meetings are usually productive and a good use of group and individual time.

What type of meetings are counterproductive?

Meetings that waste group time

Some companies have few meetings but run them poorly.

The main reasons for a poorly run meeting are:

  • The time and/or location changes at the last minute
  • No objectives are set prior to the meeting
  • The next steps are not made clear which leads to secondary meetings

In this instance, employees have a sufficient amount of time for solo work and deep thinking however they miss out on colleague collaboration and group productivity.

Meetings that waste individual time

Some companies have high quality meetings but they’re also high in quantity. This amounts to employees having less time to complete solo work and their deep thinking becomes interrupted by poorly scheduled meetings.

The downfalls to having lots of meetings include:

  • Interruption of workflow
  • Takes away from critical solo work
  • Can lead to burnout and turnover

While meetings that seem to be ‘getting stuff done’ are in theory an efficient use of time this will undoubtedly encroach on solo working time. Research conducted by HBR has shown that this has a knock-on effect as increasingly people are using their personal time to complete individual tasks. This ultimately leads to people burning out and their heads more easily swayed.

Meetings that waste both individual and group time

Many companies are guilty of conducting meetings that are both a waste of group and individual time. These triple-threat meetings are too frequent, poorly timed and badly run. This leads to a loss of productivity, collaboration as well as insufficient solo working time. HBR’s survey showed that an astonishing 54% of executives would put their meetings in this category.

How to strike a happy medium

As many people in a company are involved in scheduling and running meetings, it takes a group effort to make changes.

Although it can be difficult altering your meeting patterns it is not impossible and can contribute to significant improvements in the well-being of both groups and individuals.

How to escape the meeting trap

1. Ask questions
To find out how meetings affect your team you can conduct surveys to gain a better insight. We suggest doing these anonymously initially to encourage people to speak freely and honestly about the matter.

2. Collate the information
Once this information is collated come together as a team and go through all individual comments. These comments should lead to further open discussions and establish buy-in from individuals which will be required for the remaining steps.

3. Agree on a goal as a collective
Coming up with a solution is undoubtedly the most difficult part however this can be made easier if individuals independently benefit from the group initiative. Designating blocks of times in the day as meeting-free zones will allow individuals more time for solo working and deep thinking. Being given a limited amount of meeting-acceptable time also encourages people to consider if a meeting is necessary before scheduling. Furthermore, these large blocks of meeting-free time inevitably lead to increased individual productivity and limits the risk of burnout.

4. Monitor progress
Once changes have been made be persistent and make sure they are being adhered to by everyone. To ensure people don’t slip into old habits monitor progress and keep track of measurable progress such as the number of hours saved from inefficient meetings. Ensure you celebrate the little wins along the way.

5. There’s always room for improvement
Regularly check in with people to see how they feel about attending meetings. If people are becoming frustrated it’s time to review your processes and see what can be improved. Changing bad habits is no mean feat but the rewards can be significant.

HBR also provides a handy calculator to quantify how much all those unnecessary meetings are really costing.

How does your team feel about meetings? Have you managed to strike the right balance? Tweet us your ideas and insights at @mytalentworks