Crew talks

Staff meet regularly to discuss internal and external operational issues facing the unit or section.

Good for

  • Small- to medium-size groups: a branch at head office, a team, or all staff at a field office
  • Committees (occupational health and safety, etc.)


  • Management and staff stay abreast of existing and pending issues.
  • Management and staff stay abreast of progress made on corporate initiatives.
  • Decisions and directions are communicated.
  • It allows for exchange of perspectives and knowledge.
  • It provides opportunity to ask questions and clarify understanding.


  • In small locations, there could be client service implications.
  • Information can become trapped at the small team level if not actively communicated back upwards into senior leadership.


Staff meet to discuss the issues of the day, department news. Managers share information they have received from senior management about major initiatives. Operational decisions can be made, and tasks may be assigned.

Frequency is variable and should be set by the work-group. In very fluid situations, daily meetings lasting 5–10 minutes may do the trick. In other situations, the team may need only to get together on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Building Operations maintains a high-level schedule of crew/shop talks on the staff area of the website.

The traditional agenda would have the team leader speak first to share information with staff. Then, a roundtable gives staff a chance to speak to tasks they are working on, pending issues they see on the horizon, etc. Colleagues take their cues and adjust their workload accordingly.

The benefit of this tool is that it reinforces the sense of team; it keeps people informed about issues and project management; it opens the door for other levels of communication. Management and staff are all in the loop on issues and projects, and their information came directly from the source.

Next steps

Create a formal feedback channel to bring front-line feedback back up to senior leadership.