The workplace Huddle is perhaps one of the most beautiful components of the Great Game of Business. There is something special about getting everybody in the same room to go over how the company is doing financially and physically that astonishes people. No outsider who comes to SRC to see a successful Huddle ever leaves disappointed in the level of engagement, curiosity and fulfillment in each of SRC’s employee-owners.
Recently, after sitting in SRC Electrical’s Huddle, I got to see some of the key aspects that made their Huddle one of the best out there:
- Don’t Just Go Over the Financials in Huddles
Of course the Huddle is primarily about the numbers, but just reciting numbers is one way to lull people to sleep. The Huddle is supposed revolve around everything going on in the company including the employees lives. So, if something cool is going on in someone’s life, i.e. someone is having a baby, it should be announced in the Huddle! This will give your Huddle the personal touch it needs to make it fun and engaging. Another good non-financial section could be sharing “cheers for peers” or, as some companies call it, observing “values in action.”
- Have Different Departments Brief on What’s Going On
The Huddle is about informing the team about what’s going on in the company. One way to do this is have each department go over new developments in their area. For example, HR can have their five minutes to go over any new training, benefits or initiatives that employees should be aware of. In SRC Electrical’s Huddle, they had an environmental training bite that went over some of the important environmental safety issues such as disposing waste properly, discussing the effects of storm-water on the city’s water supply and how everybody can reduce its effects. Just keep it brief to avoid making the Huddle too long.
- Go Over Why the Numbers are Where They Are
Over the years we've learned that there’s a story behind every number. If a number has changed from the previous week there should be an explanation behind it, whether it’s good or bad. If people are passive about the numbers and not asking questions, that may be a sign to go over some financial literacy or overhaul the energy behind the numbers.
- Always Reinforce Financial Literacy!
Financial literacy is the key component to creating a great operating system with open-book management. As Jack Stack says, “What happens after the Huddle is more important than what happens in it.” In other words, people should take away what they learned from the Huddle and quantify in their head how they can improve the bottom line. This can be done by conducting financial literacy bites at the end of every Huddle. But remember: make it fun and don’t sound like an accounting professor. Highlight an important line item each Huddle (i.e. overhead costs, COGS, EBITDA, etc.). Try on-the-spot quizzes to see if your team members are listening!
Every company’s Huddle will be different, but if you stick to these guidelines, you can't go wrong.