In today’s fast-paced work environment, meetings have become a common occurrence. While they can be important for collaboration and decision-making, excessive meetings can hinder productivity and create an unnecessary burden on employees. In this article, we will explore seven tips to help you reduce meetings at work and create a more efficient and productive work culture.

Understanding the Impact of Excessive Meetings

Before we get into the tips, let’s take a moment to understand the negative impact that excessive meetings can have on both individuals and the organization as a whole. The downsides are numerous and can include a decrease in productivity, increased stress, and reduced job satisfaction.

In fact, a study by Zippia found that workers spend an average of 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings. Excessive meetings not only consume valuable time but can also lead to a lack of focus and efficiency. When employees spend a significant portion of their workday attending meetings, they have less time to dedicate to their actual work and projects that require their undivided attention. This can result in missed deadlines, unfinished tasks, and a sense of frustration among team members.

The Downside of Too Many Meetings

One of the main downsides of too many meetings is the time wasted. Employees often find themselves sitting in meetings that are not relevant to their role or responsibilities. This not only takes away from their productive time but also diminishes their motivation and engagement. When employees feel that their time is being wasted, they may become disengaged and lose interest in their work.

Furthermore, excessive meetings can lead to fatigue and burnout. As employees have less time to focus on their core responsibilities, they may find themselves working longer hours to catch up on missed work. This can result in increased stress levels and a decline in overall job satisfaction.

How Meetings Affect Productivity

Meetings often interrupt workflow and require attendees to switch their focus from one task to another. This constant context-switching can disrupt concentration and decrease overall productivity. Employees need uninterrupted time to fully immerse themselves in their work and produce high-quality results. When this time is constantly interrupted by meetings, it becomes challenging to maintain a productive flow.

Additionally, meetings can create a domino effect, causing delays in other tasks and projects as participants try to catch up on missed work. When employees are away from their desks attending meetings, important decisions may be delayed, information may not be communicated in a timely manner, and progress can be hindered. This can lead to a ripple effect throughout the organization, impacting various teams and departments.

It is important for organizations to recognize the negative impact of excessive meetings and take steps to mitigate these effects. By implementing strategies such as setting clear meeting objectives, limiting the number of attendees, and providing alternative communication channels, organizations can help employees regain their focus, improve productivity, and enhance overall job satisfaction.

The Importance of Efficient Communication

Now that we’ve discussed the negative impact of excessive meetings, let’s explore how efficient communication methods can help reduce the need for unnecessary gatherings.

Effective communication is essential in any organization. It ensures that information is accurately transmitted, tasks are completed efficiently, and teamwork is fostered. In today’s fast-paced work environment, finding ways to streamline communication processes is crucial to maximizing productivity and minimizing time wasted.

Utilizing Email and Messaging Platforms

Email and messaging platforms offer a convenient and efficient means of communication. By utilizing these tools effectively, you can relay information, collaborate, and seek feedback without the need for lengthy meetings.

When using email, it is important to be clear and concise in your messages. Clearly state the purpose of your email, provide all necessary information, and use bullet points or numbered lists to make it easier for recipients to digest the content. Additionally, make use of subject lines that accurately reflect the content of the email, making it easier for recipients to prioritize and organize their inbox.

Messaging platforms, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, provide a real-time communication channel that allows for quick discussions and collaboration. These platforms often offer features such as file sharing, video conferencing, and project management integration, making them ideal for team collaboration and reducing the need for face-to-face meetings.

Encourage your team to leverage these platforms for non-urgent matters to free up time for more important work. By using email and messaging platforms effectively, you can improve communication efficiency, reduce unnecessary meetings, and increase overall productivity.

Encouraging Open Office Communication

Creating a culture of open office communication can significantly reduce the need for formal meetings. Encourage employees to engage with one another throughout the day, whether it’s through impromptu conversations, coffee breaks, or quick catch-up sessions.

Open office communication allows for the exchange of ideas, problem-solving, and collaboration in a more spontaneous and efficient manner. It creates an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, asking questions, and seeking help from their colleagues.

One way to foster open office communication is by implementing an open-door policy, where managers and supervisors make themselves available for informal discussions and feedback sessions. This approach encourages employees to approach their superiors with any concerns or ideas they may have, eliminating the need for formal meetings to address these issues.

Another effective method is to create designated collaboration spaces within the office. These spaces can be equipped with whiteboards, comfortable seating, and brainstorming tools to encourage impromptu meetings and discussions. By providing employees with a dedicated area for collaboration, you are fostering a culture of open communication and reducing the need for formal meetings.

Encouraging open office communication not only reduces the reliance on formal meetings but also promotes a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among employees. It allows for the free flow of information, enhances problem-solving capabilities, and ultimately leads to a more efficient and productive work environment.

Tip 1: Clearly Define Meeting Objectives

One of the key reasons meetings can be ineffective and time-consuming is the lack of clear objectives. Before calling a meeting, take time to define the specific goals and outcomes you hope to achieve. Communicate these objectives to participants in advance, so they come prepared and can actively contribute to the discussion.

When defining meeting objectives, it is important to consider the overall purpose of the meeting. Are you looking to brainstorm new ideas, make important decisions, or provide updates on ongoing projects? By clearly defining the objectives, you can set the tone for the meeting and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Furthermore, clearly defined objectives serve as a guide throughout the meeting. Participants can refer back to these objectives to stay focused and ensure that the discussion remains relevant. This also helps prevent the meeting from veering off track and wasting valuable time.

The Role of an Agenda

An agenda acts as a roadmap for the meeting and helps keep the discussion on track. Include specific topics, time allocations, and any pre-work necessary to ensure a productive meeting. Share the agenda with participants ahead of time, allowing them to prepare and provide valuable input.

When creating an agenda, it is essential to prioritize the most important topics and allocate sufficient time for each item. This ensures that all necessary discussions are covered within the given timeframe. Additionally, including any pre-work or reading materials in the agenda helps participants come prepared and enhances the quality of the discussion.

Moreover, an agenda helps participants understand the flow of the meeting and anticipate what will be discussed. This allows them to formulate their thoughts and contribute meaningfully to the conversation. By providing a clear agenda, you can set expectations and create a more focused and productive meeting environment.

Determining Necessary Participants

One common mistake in organizing meetings is including unnecessary participants. Before extending an invitation, critically evaluate who truly needs to be present. Consider if their expertise or perspective is crucial to the discussion. By limiting the number of participants, you can streamline the meeting and make more efficient use of everyone’s time.

When determining the necessary participants, it is important to strike a balance between inclusivity and efficiency. While it is important to involve key stakeholders and individuals with relevant expertise, it is equally important to avoid overcrowding the meeting with unnecessary attendees. This can lead to a dilution of focus and increased time wastage.

Furthermore, involving the right participants ensures that the discussion remains focused and productive. Each participant brings a unique perspective and can contribute valuable insights to the meeting. By carefully selecting the necessary participants, you can foster a collaborative and efficient meeting environment.

Tip 2: Implement a Meeting-Free Day

Introducing a dedicated meeting-free day can work wonders for productivity and employee morale. Designate a specific day of the week where meetings are prohibited, allowing employees uninterrupted time to focus on their tasks and projects.

Imagine a day where the office is buzzing with energy and focus. The sound of keyboards clicking and papers shuffling fills the air, as employees delve deep into their work without interruptions. This is the power of a meeting-free day. It provides a sanctuary of productivity, where the only distractions are the ones we create for ourselves.

Benefits of a Meeting-Free Day

A meeting-free day can provide employees with the opportunity to delve deep into their work without interruptions. It allows for greater focus and concentration, fostering a sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction. When employees have uninterrupted time to work on their tasks and projects, they can fully immerse themselves in the details, resulting in higher quality outcomes.

Furthermore, a meeting-free day encourages employees to prioritize their tasks and manage their time effectively. With no meetings to break up their day, they have the freedom to structure their schedule in a way that maximizes their productivity. This autonomy empowers employees to take ownership of their work and make meaningful progress towards their goals.

Another benefit of a meeting-free day is the opportunity for employees to engage in deep work. Deep work is a state of flow where individuals can fully concentrate on cognitively demanding tasks. By eliminating interruptions and distractions, employees can tap into their creative and analytical abilities, leading to innovative solutions and breakthroughs.

How to Successfully Implement a Meeting-Free Day

Successfully implementing a meeting-free day requires clear communication and a commitment from both management and employees. Educate the team about the purpose and benefits of the initiative. Share success stories from other organizations that have implemented similar practices, highlighting the positive impact it had on productivity and employee satisfaction.

Establish guidelines to ensure a smooth transition into the meeting-free day. For example, if a meeting is scheduled on the designated day, encourage rescheduling it to another day or finding alternative methods of communication and collaboration. This ensures that important discussions and decisions are not delayed or neglected.

Additionally, provide resources and tools that support effective time management and task prioritization. This could include training on time management techniques, project management software, or collaboration tools that facilitate communication outside of traditional meetings.

Lastly, regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the meeting-free day and gather feedback from employees. This feedback loop allows for continuous improvement and adjustment of the initiative to better meet the needs of the team.

Implementing a meeting-free day is a powerful way to promote productivity, focus, and employee satisfaction. By providing dedicated time for deep work and task prioritization, organizations can unlock the full potential of their employees and achieve greater success.

Tip 3: Encourage Virtual Meetings

In an increasingly digital world, virtual meetings offer a viable alternative to in-person gatherings. By leveraging technology, teams can collaborate and communicate effectively without the need for everyone to be physically present.

The Advantages of Virtual Meetings

Virtual meetings eliminate the need for travel time and expenses, making them a cost-effective solution. They also allow for greater flexibility, as participants can join from any location with an internet connection. Virtual meetings promote inclusivity, enabling remote team members or those in different time zones to actively participate and contribute.

Best Practices for Virtual Meetings

To ensure successful virtual meetings, establish guidelines and best practices. Encourage participants to test their equipment and familiarize themselves with the chosen platform in advance. Conduct a brief orientation or provide resources to help attendees optimize their virtual meeting experience. Additionally, consider implementing a rotating schedule for team members to lead virtual meetings, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement.


Reducing the number of meetings in the workplace can have a positive impact on productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall efficiency. By understanding the downsides of excessive meetings, employing efficient communication methods, clearly defining meeting objectives, implementing a meeting-free day, and utilizing virtual meetings, organizations can create a more productive work environment. Embrace these tips and foster a culture that values efficient collaboration and respects the time of all employees.

For more leadership and career advice, check out our blog!

With over two million college degrees granted every year, many companies hire around May and December to attract fresh college graduates that are entering the workforce. While it is great to have bright new minds on a team, some companies struggle or are unsure of how to properly onboard and train these groups of hires.

It is also not easy for the recent college graduates themselves. Many are transitioning into a whole new era of their life and facing changes such as having to move, figuring out new work relationships and dynamics, feeling unsure about their future, amongst other changes.

Fortunately, there are things that teams at any organization can do to help guide this transition to make it successful for both employees and employers. Read this article to learn more about the essential tips to onboard and train new college graduates.

Teach Skills and Offer Training

Education does not stop after graduation when entering the workforce. All workers, at any level, can benefit from learning new things daily. However, new graduates may need more initial support to be successful in their long-term careers.

An important part of being successful in work is having strong hard skills, but also impeccable soft skills. Hard skills are the job-related knowledge that directly affects the way an employee can carry out their tasks while soft skills are the personal characteristics of a professional that allows them to work with others and be effective in their position.

Soft skills are essential to professional success. Yet, soft skills may not have been taught to college graduates during their time at school. SHRM found that three in four employers struggle to find recent college graduate candidates that have the soft skills that their company needs. Some of the soft skills that recent college graduates can struggle with include:

The reason that so many graduates struggle with these soft skills is that their education may have lacked soft skills and instead focused on just hard skills. Many college classes primarily focus on understanding concepts and testing knowledge. While some soft skills can come naturally to different personality types, many professionals must be provided extra education to truly master and understand them.

To combat this problem, employers can offer training to entry-level employees. There are many different programs and classes that are available for employers to enroll in so their employees can be the most successful. If this kind of organized programming is not an option, organizations can look at the soft skills that are needed and give helpful tips and guidance to the new hires. Just by exposing them to these skills can help make a major improvement in their work.

Mastering these skills may not come quickly, so it is important to be patient and understanding during this training process. Think of it as learning to ride a bike. It may be something completely new to them and won’t work the first time, but after trial and error, they will eventually master it and it will become second nature.

Understand Their Situation

If someone is far into their career, it may be hard to relate to new college graduates due to the age difference, lack of experiences and being brought up in different generations. While this is common for every age group, there are situations that every generation has faced that may have impacted education.

For example, many college graduates had their education directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 alone, nearly 14 million college students and their education were impacted immediately, according to CNBC. This event also impacted thousands of companies, which may have caused students to miss out on valuable internships and work experiences. It is important to have an open mind about this when training or even looking at resumes when hiring.

For many recent graduates, their first role out of college is likely also their first full-time job, which can be overwhelming. Timely Care found that nearly 70% of college graduates report feeling stressed or anxious about starting a full-time job. This anxiety also may not end once they officially start their job. These feelings could make them feel less inclined to speak up in meetings, communicate problems, reach out for help and more.

There are things that employers and managers can do to help mitigate this apprehensiveness that these workers may be feeling. Here are some examples:

Implementing some of these policies may lessen recent graduates’ anxiety, allow them to feel more comfortable in their workplace and improve their work performance.

Offer a Mentorship Program

A great way to successfully onboard and make recent college grads feel more welcomed is having a mentorship program for all new hires.

A great example of an effective mentorship program is pairing the new employee with an employee that has been at the organization for two to four years. Pairing them with a tenured coworker allows them to relate to one another about recently starting with the organization, while the tenured employee still has a good amount of experience behind them.

This will not only let the new hire have someone to rely on and go to for questions, it can also greatly improve their long-term retention at the organization. The University of Pennsylvania found that the retention rate for mentees is 72% whereas employees that do not have a mentor only have a retention rate of 49%.

It is also important to note that mentorship programs not only benefit recent hires, but they can also improve the well-being and happiness of tenured employees. Forbes found that employees who become mentors were five times more likely to be promoted compared to other employees who did not have a mentorship position.

Mentorship is a great program to consider implementing to help entry-level employees get integrated into the business.

Hiring college graduates can be risky for an organization due to lack of experience, but with the right training and onboarding, these new professionals will thrive for many years to come.

Looking to use job board that focuses directly on all things STEM? Check out STEMHUNTER, an all-new job board that will find you a perfect STEM match for your open job positions.

A motivated team goes a long way in the workplace, especially when it comes to productivity and retention.

Despite a changing economy, many professionals report looking for a new job due to feeling unmotivated, burnt out, not being compensated enough or lack of appreciation by upper management. Monster found that a whopping 96% of workers are actively looking or are open to new positions.

With many workers looking for new positions, organizations are looking for ways to motivate and retain their employees. Read this article for tips to motivate your employees, increase retention and improve business efforts.

Communicate Effectively

The first thing that needs to be established when figuring out how to motivate and retain employees is to ensure that there is an effective and professional way of communicating with them.

Communication is a simple concept that goes a long way when it comes to employee satisfaction. Zippia found that teams that have an effective communication strategy see up to a 25% increase in overall productivity. There is also ample opportunity for improvement by employers, as the study also found that only 7% of US workers view the communication efforts at their organization as accurate, open and timely.

Effective communication is not only the way managers say things to their employees, but also the way they write messages, talk with them on the phone, as well as their body language and facial expressions.

A way to improve communication is to do an internal observation of the current communication practices. Ask questions like:

After asking these questions, organizations can analyze the results and then create a game plan on how to tackle any problems or roadblocks that come up.

Another way of learning how to effectively communicate with team members is to ask them directly about their current thoughts on the way communication is being handled. This can be done through a one-on-one meeting or even anonymous surveys to get accurate results.

Approaching these communication problems head-on can give organizations the solutions to improve this problem and create a better working environment for their employees.

Acknowledge Accomplishments

Having a motivated team not only helps with retention but it can also impact the overall business. Gallup discovered that highly engaged employees, on average, bring 18% more sales to the organization. A great way to keep employees engaged and motivated is to recognize and award accomplishments.

Simply acknowledging accomplishments can go a long way for both the employee and manager especially as 44% of employees have reported leaving their job for not being adequately acknowledged for their achievements.

This type of recognition can be as simple as pulling an employee to the side and telling them that they are doing a great job with their work or delivering them a handwritten note about their recent achievements.

If a manager is looking for a more extravagant way to showcase successes, consider having an organization- or team-wide award program and/or ceremony by giving out physical signs of achievements to employees. This can include giving trophies, certificates or even monetary prizes.

There are many other ways to acknowledge employee achievements which include:

Offering these types of programs and incentives can greatly improve an employee’s morale and encourage them to keep up the great work that they are providing.

Offer Career Development

Career development is not only important to helping improve the skills of an employee, but  can also impact their retention at an organization. Harvard Business Review found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if they were offered career development courses and programs.

One way to offer career development to employees is to encourage creative ways to solve problems. For example, if there is a system in place that has been used for over 20 years at the organization, ask employees to brainstorm on ways to improve the processes within the system. This will not only encourage the transformation of old systems but will also encourage creative thinking that may unlock new skills and passions.

If it is possible within the company budget, also consider sending employees to conferences or enrolling them in webinars that will improve their line of work. There are thousands of conferences and webinars held every year that focus on very niche subjects of professionalism/skills. There is almost certainly an event that will benefit an employee’s professional development and allow them to meet others that share the same field of work as them.  

More ways to provide career development to employees include:

Offering these types of problems will allow employees to expand their skills and improve their happiness with the organization.

Participate in Team-Building Exercises

Many employees want to work for an organization where they are putting in meaningful work and feel like they are part of a community. Gusto found that over 80% of employees feel that a sense of community is important to them in a job. An excellent way to build community within an organization is to offer and encourage team-building exercises.

A great example of an effective team-building activity is volunteering in the local community. This will not only make employees feel more connected with one another but will also be helping the greater good.

If a manager oversees a fully remote team, there are still ways to build teamwork even in a virtual setting. A great way to bring together a virtual team, is to create virtual meetings dedicated to team-building. A great example of this is to host a virtual game show. This can be done by a manager or even a 3rd party company that specializes in these types of virtual events. This will encourage competition, teamwork and fun to break up a workday.

Here are some other team-building exercises that managers can consider:

Consider these activities to build morale and bring coworkers closer to one another.

Making these changes can go a long way in an organization that may be struggling with employee retention and motivation.

Looking for a job board that can help you bring in motivated talent to your team? Check out STEMHUNTER, a STEM-focused job board.

February is Black History Month, and we are providing tips and advice for employers wanting to support black employees, not only during the month of February, but all year long.

A survey from Gallup found that one in four black workers report feeling discriminated at work. In the same report, Gallup also discovered that black workers on average make 24% less annually compared to their white peers. This not only emotionally impacts black workers, but also can physically affect them and their families when their needs are not being properly met.

Read below to learn more about what workplace leaders can do to end discrimination and uplift black voices.

Implement Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Practices

According to Glassdoor, 69% of executives cite diversity and inclusion as an important issue to tackle in the workplace. But how does one go about fixing that issue? By implementing diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) practices and strategies.

According to McKinsey, DE&I is defined as, “closely linked values held by many organizations that are working to be supportive of different groups of individuals, including people of different races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations.”

The first thing employers can do to start these practices, if they are not already present, is to initiate a demographic survey of the organization. This is a way to highlight any discrepancies in mindful hiring and employee retainment. Here are some of the demographics to survey for:

After compiling this data, take a broad look at it and ask questions about the hiring and promotion process at the organization. Some of the questions to ask include:

Asking these types of questions may uncover white bias in an organization and show that hiring strategies may need to be reassessed and changed with DE&I practices in mind. Keeping this information in mind when conducting screening and hiring of new candidates, can create a more diverse and inclusive workplace and foster a more welcoming space for all employees.

For more information on creating a DE&I centered workplace, check out this article from the Time’s Up Foundation on building an anti-racist workplace.

Create Employee Resource Groups

A great way to help black employees feel more welcomed and appreciated in the organization is to offer employee resource groups (ERG) to the organization. ERGs have become increasingly popular at organizations, especially with world events shaping the way that many people think. SHRM found that about 90% of Fortune 500 companies are supporting and investing in ERGs in the workplace.

An ERG is a voluntary internal employee group that members all share the same characteristics or goals, building inclusivity and community. These groups allow the employees to speak to, and spend time with, other peers that are like them.

For example, if there is only one black worker on a team of all white people, there is a high chance that they may feel isolated due to their different experiences and hardships. Having an ERG with other people of color gives the opportunity to talk about this type of isolation and find community at their organization.

Some of the activities that an ERG member can participate in include:

ERGs can create a great sense of community for workers that may feel marginalized due to their skin color, interests or background.

Educate All Employees

Every worker has different backgrounds and experiences which can cause workplace discrimination both directly and indirectly. Direct discrimination is when a group of people are treated differently due to their skin color and/or background directly while indirect discrimination, which is the act of discriminating against a group of people without even knowing, can be common in organizations that are led and mostly staffed by white people. 

A way to combat this problem is to provide direct education to employees. This can help them understand the problems others face due to their skin color, what they can do to minimize bias, how they can support colleagues and much more.

Organizations can provide specific training on the inequalities of people of color not only within the workplace, but in all of society. Here are some examples of training and programming that organizations can provide to employees:

Offering these types of trainings can help change the workplace for the better in regard to creating a supportive and understanding culture for black employees.

Avoid Performative Behavior

It is easy to look at hiring practices, see that there is a diversity problem and “promise” to make changes. However, it is the actual act of making the change that makes a difference in an organization.

The act of saying that changes will be made but are never executed is also known as performative activism. Performative activism is defined as, “activism done to increase one’s social capitol rather than because of one’s devotion to a cause” according to Boston Medical Center.

Conducting an internal audit of demographics and diversity should not be done just once. Consider having an audit every six months or on a yearly basis. If an organization is basing their hiring strategies on old data, it is not doing the employees of color any justice which can directly and negatively impact employee happiness and retention.

Also, consider continuing to support and lift ERGs at the company. Showing solidarity and support to these groups can make employees feel much more welcomed and included by having a safe space to talk about their goals and problems. For example, when a new employee is starting or even interviewing, mention the ERGs that are available to all employees and provide them information on how to join.

Lastly, continue educating all employees on racial discrimination and what can be done to help coworkers of color. Keep up with current headlines and societal events, as addressing and changing practices due to current events is crucial in avoiding performative activism.

Consider these practices and implementing them within your organization to better the environment for black workers and let their voices be heard.

The current competitive and tight labor market is making many organizations rethink their hiring process, but many are leaving out a key aspect, employee retention.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that STEM jobs will grow 10.5% between the years 2020-2030. With large numbers of STEM jobs projected to open, this presents a great opportunity for employers to add new talent to their organization. However, with this focus on bringing in new talent, many current employees could be looking for new opportunities if their needs are not being met.

A great way to retain your employees is through conducting stay interviews. Read below to learn how stay interviews can help you retain great STEM talent.

What Exactly is a Stay Interview?

A stay interview is a conversation or meeting with successful employees to learn more about how they feel about their position and the organization as a whole.  Some topics can include how they enjoy their position, what the organization can do better to support them, what changes they would like to see and other questions about their overall experience.

The Society of Human Resource Management found that it costs an employer one-third of an employee’s annual salary to replace them when they leave their role. This high cost is due to factors such as recruiting, training, loss in productivity and more. To combat these costs, employers are finding great success in having stay interviews with top performing employees.

The objective of a stay interview is to learn how the organization can change to better help employee experience, while also showing the employee that their opinions and experiences matter to management. This directly correlates to employee retention and keeping outstanding workers at your company.

Preparing For a Stay Interview

A great way to prepare for a stay interview is to take a close look at the performance of your employees and identify which individuals would be the best to conduct this type of conversation with. Consider picking employees that you want to retain at the company long-term, or those with a strong work ethic.

Once you have identified employees that you would like to conduct this conversation with, put time for the meeting on their calendar. When sending out an invitation for a stay interview, it is a great idea to explicitly inform the employee what the meeting will entail. If you are not clear about what the conversation will be, the employee could jump to conclusions like a possible lay-off or a haul of extra work which could hinder the meeting productivity and overshadow the purpose of the stay interview.

It is recommended that stay interviews last at least 30 minutes. This allows employers to ask several important questions, while also not taking away too much time from the workday for everyone involved.

Conducting a Stay Interview

Stay interviews are best conducted by a direct manager, rather than an HR professional. This is because employees will more likely have a sense that their feelings and opinions of the organization are being taken more seriously. If it is only being done by a member of HR, it could come off that the stay interview is only being done for compliance or to meet a quota. However, the results should be shared with HR following the interview.

Another factor to consider when having a stay interview is to make sure the interview is being done at a convenient time for both the manager and the employee. Considering both individuals’ time could make the employee feel more comfortable with the conversation and overall more respected by the organization.

Also, consider keeping performance reviews and stay interviews separate. While both are equally important, they have different purposes. Combining the two could cause the employee to be discouraged or stressed during the review and could make them avoid giving genuine answers to the questions that you are asking. It is best to save a performance review for another meeting.

Assembling What Questions to Ask

Just like an entrance or exit interview, preparing questions beforehand is essential when conducting a stay interview. It is best to include questions that are about the organization as a whole, as well as their specific experience working at your organization. You’ll want to ask questions about what motivates the employee to stay in addition to questions related to why they might leave. This can provide leadership with insights to help make decisions on what the organization can do to help increase and improve retention. Consider these questions below to ask in a stay interview:

Also, consider asking questions that are tailored to the employee’s specific role. By including specific questions, employees could feel that you took the time to consider their specific role within the organization.

These questions can be helpful to understand the needs of your employees and help open the door to what leadership can do to make sure that they, and others, stay at the organization for a long period of time.

Using The Information You Collected

Once you have successfully completed stay interviews, analyze what employees said and look for commonalities between responses. It is a good idea to meet with other leaders and the HR department to discuss findings and conclusions. From there, a plan or initiative should be created to improve employee retention.

Additionally, consider having an introspective look at yourself as a leader in the organization. Compare the answers from the stay interview to your leadership style and see if there is any room for improvement. Having strong leadership will go a long way with employee retention and hiring great talent.

After some time, consider having a follow-up conversation with employees to see if the changes have made a significant impact. It is a good idea to track to see if measurable change has been made overtime.

Stay interviews can be a great way to retain star employees, but can also shape an organization to be attractive to all job seekers.

Looking for great STEM talent? Check out STEMHUNTER, a job board specifically designed for STEM professionals.

It is likely that the processes and procedures we use daily were generated by a creative idea. Having an open workplace where employees can use their imagination to improve processes, not only enables the company to progress, but also can personally benefit the employee’s career progression.

However, the biggest setback for creativity at work, is that many employees are analytically minded in their role and have never been enabled to think creatively. Roles in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields generally tend to be more technical, often requiring employees to follow strict policies and procedures.

According to a recent survey by Gallup, only 29% of workers strongly agree that they are encouraged to think and work creatively. When employees are motivated to think creatively, new processes can emerge, quality of work can improve and workflow may take shorter amount of time.

Here are five tips on how to encourage all employees at work to be creative, no matter what kind of role they are in.

Promote Testing and Acknowledge Failures

Creativity often brings failure. As a leader, it is best to acknowledge this, and support your employees if things don’t work out as expected.

If you give an employee a task where they encouraged to be creative and it does not work properly, avoid negative repercussions. Instead, provide constructive feedback and suggest analyzing their work to see what improvements can be made to make it better next time.

Testing new ideas and acknowledging failure is a main theme in Spotify’s yearly “Hack Week” event. This is a week where over 2,000 employees switch job roles and work on projects that they feel passionate about with an overarching goal. Problems are embraced and employees are encouraged to find new ways to solve them all while implementing them into their everyday work. This year’s event focused on being “greener” with work and employees were able to come up with new processes that reduced their carbon footprint.

If the employee succeeds the first time they compete a creative task, encourage them to continue thinking about the things that could be done to make it an even better process.

Provide Goals

Creating new ideas and processes can be extremely beneficial for organizations, but they should be within company standards and guidelines. Providing your workers with communication and guidance on the values and goals of the company will allow them to have good understanding of this while also being able to step outside of the box.

If you simply tell your employees to ‘think more creatively at work’, this can cause ambiguity and confusion for employees. Setting guidelines, but also allowing flexibility is the best combination for letting focused, creative ideas come to light.

For example, you may have a process for your team that you feel is taking too long and can be completed more efficiently. Present this goal to your team and encourage them to think of ways to improve this process. By promoting this opportunity for input, employees may provide a new perspective and offer suggestions for improvement. Continually look for ways to provide goals for your team to keep them inspired and excited to contribute to the team in a new way.

Celebrate Achievements

When an employee or team at your company comes up with a brand-new idea or improvement of current processes, it should be celebrated and recognized. This can be done by personally congratulating the individual(s), sharing an email highlighting the great work they have done or even company-wide recognition at your next town hall event. These are all great gestures to celebrate and promote this achievement.

This positive reinforcement not only recognizes the employees that are going above and beyond for your organization, but also provides positive reinforcement for their ideas. For the employee personally, they will likely feel a sense of pride and connection to your organization.

Celebrating achievements also encourages the other workers to keep thinking creatively. If they see one of their colleagues being praised for their work, they may be more likely to go out of their way to think differently to also achieve that award or recognition.

Offer Training Opportunities

It is likely that not everyone your team is naturally creative. Your employees may need an extra push through training and development opportunities to bring out creativity. This training can be done via webinars, professional development courses and in-person collaboration with experts that are experienced in creative thinking.

For example, the Imperial College of London offers a free course called “Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success. This course includes a variety of techniques to think different with the world around you and presents a focus on how to think more creatively at work.

Offering training like this not only provides employees with an opportunity to start thinking in different ways, but it also can give them tools to make their work even better.

Set Aside Time and Space for Creativity

If you want to enable your employees to think creatively, you need to give them the ability to be able to do so. As a leader, you should recognize that this is not something that will happen overnight. You will have to allow your team time and space to come up with new ideas.

Unlike giving an employee a specific task that needs to be done at a certain time, creativity has no real deadline. There will be employees that are naturally creative and maybe have creative hobbies, but if you want to enable analytical employees to open their mind, you need to give them the room to do so.

Consider the ways in which you can encourage creativity for your team. This might include setting time aside in meetings to brainstorm ideas or setting up collaborative sessions with other departments. It may also include re-working your workspace to allow for collaboration and inspire creativity.

Many companies believe that having physically open and creative spaces in the office help encourage their employees to think more outside of the box. For example, Bumble offers a 1960s inspired workspace for in-office employees featuring comfy chairs and wide-open workstations. They also have designated “creativity” rooms that allow employees to let their minds flow on new ideas.

By thoughtfully setting aside time, and creating a space for creativity, you can make a proactive effort for process improvement and new ideas at your organization.

Creativity in the workplace will take time, but by being strategic in your efforts, you can enable your team to contribute to your organization in new ways.

Looking for creative and hardworking employees? Check out STEMHUNTER today to learn more about our innovative STEM-focused job board.

The STEM field is growing every single year and is considered one of the most sought after career fields. While many woman are graduating with STEM degrees and entering the field in higher numbers than ever before, there is still a huge problem that they are facing: unfair wages compared to their male colleagues’ earnings.

The Current State

According to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, a woman in engineering and technology makes nearly $4,000 less than men in entry-level positions. This study was done with men and women that are working the same exact positions with the same amount of previous experience.

These wage gaps are not only seen between men and women, with women of color being affected the most with the wage gap. Pew Research Center found that Black and Hispanic women make 83% of what a White man would earn working the same position in the STEM field.

Image via U.S. Census Bureau

Within the STEM field, women in different positions experience varying wage gaps. For example, new female gradates in computer science make an average salary of $79,000 while male graduates make an average of $82,000 (National Center for Women & Information Technology). Regarding the science field there is a much bigger wage gap. This gap has been reported to be at least $18,000 for candidates with PhDs as reported by the US National Science Foundation’s annual census.

While there is a wage gap present in STEM fields, women working in STEM experience a much smaller wage gap compared to women in other fields. In a study from the U.S. Department of Commerce, it was found that women in STEM jobs earn 33% more than women that work in non-STEM positions.

What Can Be Done?  

Fixing the wage gap for every women in STEM is hard, but not impossible.

The first thing that can be done is to make employers aware of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which is a federal law that requires equal pay for equal work. If an employer is found to not be properly following this federal law by providing unequal wages, it could lead to legal troubles and lawsuits.

Another way to close the wage gap is to schedule regular audits of employee wages at the company and investigate any disparities between men and women’s pay if they are present. Conducting an audit like this can help pay disparities be identified and enables leadership to take action to close the gap.

Many research studies, like the one from Stanford, have found that women have a harder time negotiating salary during the hiring process compared to men due to social norms and fear of retaliation for doing so. This lack of pay negotiating can broaden the wage gap more. To avoid this wage gap from widener more at a company, women should be encouraged and open to negotiating their salary.

Sometimes it can feel that there are a lot of factors preventing the wage gap to be closed with preconceived notions of gender roles and lack of action, both of which can be disheartening for women in STEM. Closing the wage gap will take time, but with push from both job seekers and employers, it can be improved over time.

Looking for your next STEM career? Check out STEMHUNTER’s job board for the latest openings.

Top talent in scientific, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields can be hard to find using traditional recruiting methods. STEM professionals’ searches differently for new opportunities and your organization may need to think creatively and utilize new tools in order to get your jobs in front of these individuals. Below are five ways you can reach and engage talent in STEM.

1. Industry-Specific Publications

A great way to get in front of STEM professionals is to meet them where they already are. What kinds of magazines, podcasts, websites, etc. might your target candidates be engaging with? For example, if you are looking to bring on Chemical Engineers, Chemical Engineering Magazine might be a good place to advertise on. In some cases, these publications have their own job board, email newsletter or social media channels, which are additional opportunities to get your job postings in front of the right people.

2. Events

If you are trying to grow your hiring network in a particular area of STEM, look no further than events such as trade shows, conferences, seminars, etc. . There are many event options throughout the year in a variety of industries and specialties within STEM. These events, whether national, local or virtual, are a great opportunity to make connections in a specific space. By growing your connections, you can increase your network reach and bring more attention to your organization and critical roles.


STEMHUNTER’s next-generation platform was built specifically for reaching and engaging top STEM talent. Whether posting your job on the board, or searching STEMHUNTER’s candidate database, your company can get in front of the right professionals and create a seamless hiring process that could lead you to your next stand-out employee. Start a free trial today and see for yourself why STEMHUNTER is a top choice for employers.

4. Colleges & Universities

When your organization is in need of fresh STEM talent, turn to colleges and universities. These institutions are guaranteed to have new graduates looking to enter the job market every year in a number of disciplines. Your organization can get in front of these prospects by posting on their university job board, attending career fairs and getting involved on campus. Through clubs, seminars or events, you can be targeted in your recruiting efforts to find the students with the experience and interests you are looking for.

5. Professional Organizations

When prospecting employees, professional organizations may not come to mind as a hiring tactic. However, there are organizations for a number of different interest groups and industries, allowing you to build your network in a particular area. In addition to making critical connections in your space, these organizations offer various events and promotional opportunities that you can utilize to build attention and awareness of your hiring efforts.

Are you seeking top talent to fill your critical STEM roles? Start your STEMHUNTER free trial and find employees among our extensive database of STEM professionals!

According to data compiled by TeamStage, motivated and engaged teams experience increased productivity, higher retention and greater profitability compared to unmotivated teams. However, the data also shows that only an alarming 33 percent of employees in the US feel motivated at work. If motivated employees have such a large impact on business success, shouldn’t managers focus on the ways they can engage and inspire their team at work? Below are six proven tips to increase motivation and engagement within your organization.

Recognize Accomplishments

When is the last time you recognized a coworker for a job well-done? Consider the ways in which you can formally and informally recognize the accomplishments of your team. Celebrate the small achievements of your coworkers by making time to stop by their desk or send them a thoughtful message. Recognize larger accomplishments by giving your team member a shout-out at a team meeting or in a company newsletter. If your organization doesn’t have a formal awards or recognition program, consider putting one in place as this is an excellent motivator and is likely to encourage greater team productivity.

Set Goals Together

A great approach to boost employee engagement is to allocate time to collaborate and brainstorm with your team to set specific and measurable goals. Discuss the “why” behind the goals and objectives your team is setting to make sure everyone is on the same page. Having your team be a part of the goal-setting process establishes transparency and intrinsic motivation to work towards the group’s objectives. Create goal check-in points to discuss progress and re-evaluate the goals if needed. Additionally, remember to celebrate when goals are met and continue to establish new goals and objectives that are clear and measurable with your team.

Include Others in Decision Making

Consider the ways you can get your team involved in decision making. From small, daily decisions to larger, more impactful changes, your team can offer value to the decision-making process. Give them the opportunity to provide feedback on current practices and leave room for any new ideas they may have. Including your coworkers in this way allows them to feel like their opinions are valued and their voice is heard. This builds team motivation and helps your employees understand why decisions are made to benefit the organization.

Offer Leadership Opportunities

Your coworkers might jump at a leadership opportunity if given the chance. Whether you give them an opportunity to head a project, contribute to the team in a different capacity or take the lead on a new initiative, offering the ability to take on additional responsibility is a great way to motivate employees and increase productivity. Continue to provide support to them in this new position and offer constructive feedback if needed so that they can be successful.

Set Aside Time For Non-Work Talk

When is the last time you caught up with your team? Setting aside time for your coworkers to get together outside of work is a great way to get to know each other’s interests and form a stronger team bond. This can be a formal, work-sponsored event or an informal check-in with a coworker. Creating these connection opportunities is a great way to communicate with your team in a different way and can support your organization’s positive culture and employee engagement.

Training and Development

Whether your coworkers have been at your company for months or multiple years, it is important to offer training and development opportunities for your team. Training can come in several different forms, but almost always requires team engagement in some capacity. Consider surveying the team on work-related topics they would like to learn more about or which skills they may like to further develop. Not only will you be giving your employees an opportunity to break up their day, you’ll also be providing your employees with useful skills for the future.

In conclusion, managers and organizations can benefit by making a conscious effort to inspire and motivate their team. By doing so, they can increase worker satisfaction, escalate business results and strengthen team productivity.

Are you part of an engaged and motivated work environment? If you’re looking for a new workplace, check out the job opportunities on STEMHUNTER

After the COVID-19 pandemic brought us social distancing regulations and company travel restrictions, virtual meetings and calls became the norm. When it’s your turn to host the meeting, you want to be prepared, just as you would be if the meeting were face to face. Consider these tips for effectively leading virtual meetings, so they run smoothly and are productive.

1. Create a Plan

One of the first things you should do when scheduling a meeting is collaborate with your team regarding the meeting content. Create a plan indicating who is responsible for putting together necessary materials including slides and reports. Discuss any deadlines and give yourself some extra time to practice with the finalized meeting materials. Your team may also want to consider what the meeting follow-up will look like and what will be provided to attendees. Thinking of all these aspects ahead of time will help your team be prepared and will ensure that you are all on the same page.

2. Test Your Technology

Before the meeting, make sure that you are familiar with the video platform and its features. Not only will this help with your execution during the real meeting, it’ll also help you quickly troubleshoot any issues that your meeting attendees may have during the meeting. You may want to consider items like dial-in options, screen sharing abilities  and hand-raising features. This information should be provided to meeting attendees ahead of time so that they are prepared when it’s time for the event.

3. Assign a Facilitator

One of the challenges of virtual meetings is the difficulty for collaborative discussions to take place. Attendees are often muted during presentations to prevent background noise and may not feel comfortable speaking up while someone else is talking. Assigning a facilitator to help spark discussions and move the meeting along will help your meeting be more effective overall. The facilitator can also help introduce the presenters, share their screen to feature important documents and field questions as needed.

4. Stick to Meeting Basics

Despite that there are distinct differences between online and in-person meetings, you’ll want to follow conventional meeting practices throughout your virtual meeting. Utilize an agenda, provide meeting materials to attendees and take breaks if necessary. Consider a meeting ice breaker to start off the virtual meeting and get people comfortable using the software. You’ll also want to be mindful of the other attendees time by minimizing the presentation portion of the meeting and maximizing times for collaboration and discussion.

5. Establish a Structure

Establishing the meeting structure can also help with increased participation and engagement. Consider how people can interject and ask questions. Will they use a hand-raising feature on the video software or enter their questions into the chat? By setting the expectations of participants, it makes it clear how they can offer their opinions and contribute to the meeting.

6. Get Others Involved

As previously mentioned, it’s easy for individuals to remain quiet during a virtual meeting. To increase collaboration and keep everyone engaged, it is a good idea to ask questions to the group or to specific individuals throughout the video call. You may also want to start the meeting by addressing everyone individually who is on the call, giving time for small talk before getting into the meeting topics. Again, this is a good item for the facilitator to monitor throughout the meeting. The more interactive you make the virtual meeting, the more attendees will feel engaged and connected to each other. 

7. Capture Feedback From Everyone

Following the meeting, it’s a good idea to capture feedback from everyone involved, including attendees and individuals on your team. You may want to consider sending out a brief survey or open ended questions about the virtual meeting to gather insights into what went well and what could’ve been better. A retrospective meeting with your team can also provide valuable information and discussions. Capturing all of this information now can help you run your next virtual meeting more effectively in the future.

8. Follow-Up

Depending on the intention of your meeting, you may want to follow up with meeting attendees. This could include meeting notes, next step information, and/or meeting materials such as a recording or presentation slides. Creating and executing a follow up plan can make your meeting effective beyond just the meeting content.

Are you an employer searching for effective leaders to join your team? Are you a job seeker looking for more professional leadership opportunities? Check out STEMHUNTER

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