Siemens Building Technologies and Inspirometer
The Building Technologies Division of Siemens offers energy-efficient, safe and secure buildings and infrastructure. Their vision is to create “Perfect Places,” constructions designed to meet all of their customers’ exacting requirements. Like Inspirometer, they follow the principle of continuous improvement across their business to help create these Perfect Places.
With the pace of change getting faster and faster thanks to new automation technologies, as well as customer solutions requiring more internal collaboration and a more networked approach, Siemens Building Technologies noticed 18 months ago that meetings were becoming a source of increasing frustration. Through a weekly employee “pulse check,” concerns were surfacing around how efficient and effective the meetings actually were. Following a CIP approach, Siemens BT wanted to understand the scope of the problem and the root causes that needed addressing.
The first roadblock they encountered was that they had no formal process for actually collecting any data on their meetings. The second was that they had no record of how many meetings were even going on in any given day.
Siemens decided to collaborate with Inspirometer to overcome these two roadblocks and lift the lid on what was happening with their meetings.
A target group of 100 employees was identified, defined by their roles involving a large amount of time in meetings. An Outlook plugin was deployed to capture the necessary data around numbers of meetings being attended by the target population, alongside a basic end-of-meeting feedback tool to get an idea of how effective each meeting was.
The meeting data was eye-opening. For the first time, Siemens had a simple dashboard showing the number of meetings held in any given month, the proportion between internal meetings and external meetings, how many meetings had an actual formal objective and agenda, and how many meetings were being held face-to-face vs. virtual meetings via phone or other live meeting tools. The data immediately showed the size of the challenge ahead, and allowed some smart metrics and targets to be established.
The end-of-meeting feedback tools started to encourage a culture of attendees sharing immediate feedback and suggestions for how the meeting they had attended could be improved. As an example, in the monthly senior management team feedback was encouraged not only at the end of meetings, but the Inspirometer feedback tools enabled feedback to be given for each agenda item and each presenter. After the meetings, this allowed for a review of all feedback and suggestions, meaning the meeting structure and delivery of the next meeting could be adjusted accordingly.
Over a 9 month period, the feedback data showed a steady 50% improvement in overall meeting satisfaction. On occasions where meeting performance dropped significantly in one particular month, the data was immediately available to both management and the meeting participants, allowing for the root cause of the drop to be found. By providing employees with the tools they needed to make decisions as a team, they were able to collectively compare which meetings were working well, and where special attention was needed to improve meetings that were performing poorly.
One of the major success factors for the deployment of the Inspirometer solution has been its ease of use. Feedback can be given easily and quickly via laptop, tablet and smartphone platforms and for the meeting organiser, there are a number of simple dashboards for viewing your meeting statistics and meeting effectiveness, again available via multiple platforms.
What surprised me about Inspirometer has been the passion and engagement it created in the management team to improve our meetings. At the start of each management meeting we review the scores and comments from the previous month’s meeting. We then agree what structural or cultural changes we want to make in the current meeting as a result. Inspirometer encourages a discipline of “You said, we did” to improve our meetings and over the past six months we have seen a +50% improvement in the overall meeting effectiveness score.