There’s nothing new about huddles. Football, baseball, cricket, rugby, and basketball teams have been having them since these sports were invented. What is new, though, is the appearance of such team gatherings in the workplace. All sorts of businesses – from accountants to retailers – are starting to hold daily team huddles and finding that they’re transforming the way they work.
If team huddles aren’t already a part of your workplace culture, this article contains everything you need to know about them and what they could do for your IT service desk operations.
What’s a huddle?
A team huddle should not to be confused with a traditional meeting.
For starters, huddles are far shorter. See below for best practice when it comes to timings. Plus, huddles are much less formal, with the content being directed by the huddle members rather than a meeting chairperson.
7 huddle best practices – how to hold the perfect huddle
- Huddles should last between 10 and 30 minutes.
- Ideally team huddles should be held every day.
- The best times to hold a huddle are either 11am or 2.20pm, because this is traditionally when energy starts to slump in the workplace. The huddle should be designed to inject a little bit of pep back into the day.
- Members should stand up for the huddle. Psychologically it keeps members ready for action and alert to what’s being said. Standing up also takes away the opportunity for people to rest items like phones or tablets on the table in front of them, and thus there’s less chance of them being distracted. There’s another benefit of standing up that’s specific to IT service desk teams, too. Many jobs in IT support are pretty sedentary. And standing up gives employees a break from slouching over their desks and can be better for their health.
- Don’t hold your huddle in the place that your other more formal meetings take place. One option is to single out an area of your open plan office to hold your huddle, and kit it out with the latest collaborative tech. Alternatively, you could create a dedicated “huddleroom.”
- Stick to certain topics in your huddle. Start with good news, share positive customer feedback, then move on to updates on products and services and key performance indicator (KPI) updates before giving members the opportunity to talk about any issues they may need help with.
- Only cover a 24-hour span in your huddle talks. Huddles aren’t the places to discuss four-year plans, etc.
The 6 key benefits of a team huddle for IT service desk teams
- Better communication: Regular team huddles give you the opportunity to update people on any changes that are occurring. Yes, you can always send out an email update about changes and alerts, but you can’t ensure recipients read that email in a timely manner, or even at all. The huddle format ensures that everyone gets to hear the news.
- Higher team morale: Huddles are a great opportunity to read out a bit of positive customer feedback to a team, and to give people a pat on the back.
- Better KPIs: When you work on an IT service desk you tend to have KPIs coming out of your ears. Huddles are a great arena for focusing on these KPIs. And talking about KPIs daily, or every few days, keeps the targets and goals in people’s minds; and also serves as a great tool for benchmarking and mentally tracking how KPIs rise and fall.
- Faster trouble shooting: Issues can be resolved faster when companies have regular huddles. Instead of wasting time setting up a one-off meeting to discuss an issue, the person with the issue can simply take it to the regular huddle and get instant feedback and support.
- A more modern workplace: Holding a huddle shows that your business is forward thinking, and this could attract fresh blood to your organization. The traditional meeting format is out-of-date for millennials, for example, who are used to communicating in short social media statuses. Hold huddles and show potential talent that your business is a great fit for them.
- Improved team bonding: In the IT service management (ITSM) industry, it’s easy for employees to fall into silos of work. Huddles give your staff an opportunity to build bonds with each other and to get to know each other’s personalities.
4 final tips on how to set up a huddle area
- Keep it minimal: Keep your huddle space or huddleroom uncluttered. If possible, give it white walls and add a few motivational quotes here and there to stop it looking clinical.
- “Let there be light”: Try to position your huddle space near a big window or ensure your huddleroom has clear walls. If this isn’t possible, ensure there’s lot of light.
- Invest in the tech: To ensure that your team gets their points across as quickly as possible, it can be helpful to have some tech in the huddleroom that facilitates speedy point making. Add an interactive display to the area, for example, so employees can do everything from instantly pulling up company documents to drawing up an explanatory chart or graph.
- Keep it an active space: Huddles are best done standing up. If you must have seating in the huddleroom ensure that it’s not the type of seating that people can slouch or slump into. A few tall stools would work.
So that’s the power of huddles in a nutshell. If you have any questions, or would like to share your successes, please let me know in the comments.