On a monthly or quarterly basis, most organisations conduct business review meetings in order to highlight the key successes in the said period or to look into causes behind not meeting targets. A business review meeting is a type of regular meeting that is held to discuss individual or team progress toward goals. During the business review meeting, teams apply analytical tools to find out what is affecting their performance. With emphasis on positive feedback and recognition, team leaders, managers and senior leadership undertake coaching roles.
For new employees, navigating through the job is difficult itself. They need time to get accustomed to the work culture, enhance their skills and perform. Business review meetings can help them to understand how they contribute to the organisation's revenue through their performance. Meetings, in general tend to be very formal situations that may intimidate newcomers. However, a business review meeting must be viewed as a learning opportunity, as opposed to a criticism session. While it is partially dependent on the manager or team leader's disposition, newcomers must treat it with gusto. In simple, newcomers can make the most out of these meetings by dividing what has to be done into three different sections.
Before the meeting
First of all, the new entrants must get prepared for the meeting. This can be done in several ways; by looking into agenda set for the meeting and understanding the agenda, by studying topics relevant to the agenda and having a mentality of contributing to the meeting, as opposed to just listening. Many a times, managers try to communicate the issues accurately, but they are not well received by newcomers due to the dynamics of their positions. Newcomers must have a predisposition to take in criticism and suggestions positively.
An effective way to feel comfortable with these meeting may be to have a "buddy"- a guide to help the newcomer understand what the objectives of the team are, what they lack and the best way to achieve the goals that are set. This buddy can be a peer who has been with the organisation for longer, or maybe even a senior. They can build a rapport so that that both can benefit from it in the long run.
Shahriar Sharif, a management trainee at Banglalink, says, "Upon joining, I was tagged with a buddy- a senior executive- who helped me to get accustomed to the organisation culture. During the first few meetings I attended, I would seek advice from my buddy on how to understand better. Without having my buddy, I would be very lost in the meetings."
During the meeting
A must in this case is to be on time. Late arrivals can take up five to ten minutes of the meeting, or in most cases - make the meeting more than ten minutes longer. As a newcomer, being late also creates a very poor impression to the superiors. Moreover, newcomers must ensure that they are not distracted by their phones. As mentioned before, it is important to participate in the meetings. It is necessary to pay attention to why the set goals could not have been achieved and what could have been done differently. Newcomers should take notes in order to help them keep track of the issues discussed in the meeting.
Moreover, it is also very much necessary that the team leaders know the proper methods to ensure maximum utilisation of the meeting time-period. This can be done by following the agenda. Then, managers must encourage employees to communicate openly their queries during the question and answer session. Managers can also arrange for an informal evaluation session with the newcomer, over a cup of coffee. They can discuss about the areas where improvement is needed. A little appreciation is always necessary. Employers should remember that it is also their responsibility to bring out the best in their employees.
An HR executive from a reputed fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) says," We often let our line managers sit one-to-one with the new employees to facilitate their understandings of the work that needs to be done, improvements to be made, or simply appreciate them for the hard work and effort they put in."
After the meeting
Even after the meeting is over, the work is not over yet. In order to make the most out of the meeting, newcomers must ensure that they take the key learnings and implement them.
It is quite common for people to come away from the same meeting with very different interpretations of what went on. This is where the "buddy" comes into help. After the meeting, discussing with the "buddy" can help the newcomer understand clearly everything that was communicated by the team leader. Whatever gaps there were in understanding during the meeting can easily be filled. This can ensure that the newcomer is on the same page as his/her manager.
Moreover, it is imperative to implement the takeaways from the meetings, in order to ensure that the performance is up to the mark and help to achieve the targets that have been set. On the other-hand, newcomers must also keep following these learnings for the next meeting.
A Harvard Business Review piece from 2014 reported that three consultants analysed the Outlook schedules of the employees of an unnamed "large company," and concluded that one weekly executive meeting ate up a dizzying 300,000 hours a year. This goes to show that meetings not only take up quite a chunk of time, but also energy. It is necessary for the employees to make the most out of them as they are opportunities to learn and develop themselves.
The writer is a fresh graduate of BRAC University and is currently working in a local private bank. She can be reached at