Who out there wouldn’t like meetings to be more efficient?
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Who out there wouldn’t like meetings to be more efficient?

March 5, 2019 | Updated on October 21, 2020

Reporting in on an Excellence in Government Fellows project

Photo: Members of the EIG project team, from left to right:
Brannan Villee, Michael Klem, Chris Cannizzaro, Hasib D. Alikozai, Gerri del Valle, Kimberly Price-Evans, Yvonne Levardi. (Not pictured: Damon Hill.)

Poor meeting practices can sap worker productivity, as a group of participants in the spring 2018 Excellence in Government Fellows program well know. Having sat through deadly meetings that were long on time and short on decisions, eight fellows banded together on an EIG project to see what they could do about it.

The mission: better meetings for better government. 

The newly created team landed on the idea of creating a toolkit to help federal employees run meetings more effectively.  

Step one was to survey the federal workforce to understand how meetings go wrong. Next, team members developed a set of best practices, guides and resources to help employees determine the value of a meeting and run one most productively. 

The project produced a product that includes a guide for holding effective meetings, a template for a meeting agenda and an estimator to determine the meeting’s cost based on the number of participants, their GS levels and hourly rate, and the length of the meeting.   

The toolkit is housed on the Department of Homeland Security website but is available to employees from any federal agency.  

Reactions to the toolkit have been overwhelmingly positive, according to EIG team members. Their colleagues like that the guide is short, to the point and single-sided, making it easy to post a hard copy in the workplace.  

Meeting organizers particularly appreciate the cost estimator, according to the team, because awareness about cost could lead federal employees to think twice about whom they invite to attend. The template for an agenda can help organizers hold more efficient meetings.  

Using all the pieces of the toolkit could help agencies create a more efficient workplace. 

Have an idea to make government more effective? Apply for EIG and make it happen.

Throughout the Excellence in Government Fellows program, participants have a unique opportunity to work on a project they’re passionate about. Whether it’s facilitating better meetings or delivering more satisfying customer experience, EIG fellows have a chance to make a difference during their time in the program and after they graduate. To participate this spring, apply by September 27.