Done right, an all-hands meeting is excellent for energizing and motivating your team, building camaraderie, and creating a positive company culture.
Many all-hands meetings don’t live up to their potential. Too many presentations, awkward team-building activities, or an unfocused agenda leave attendees disengaged, not excited. Then enter the Pandemic. The same formats delivered virtually make the engagement level even worse.
After two years of non-stop Zoom meetings and the Great Resignation underway, companies are ramping up employee engagement efforts to attract, retain and grow internal staff.
Here are our seven tips for creating an all-hands meeting with impact.
1. Start planning with a purpose in mind
Like customer or prospect-facing events, an all-hands meeting that has an impact starts by identifying goals and objectives. And especially in the case of an internal event, think carefully about any specific actions you want employees to take after the meeting.
Typical goals of all-hands meetings include:
- Driving alignment around the company’s mission and strategy
- Announcing new business initiatives or company news
- Previewing product updates
- Reviewing financials
- Celebrating notable milestones and the people who made them possible
- Offering opportunities for team members to provide input or ask questions
Bonus tip: if there isn’t a clear purpose, it’s better to hold off. Don’t host an all-hands meeting solely because of pressure to adhere to a specific schedule. It’s harder to make them impactful with a too-frequent timetable.
2. Set a clear agenda
When gathering an entire company or department at one time, it’s tempting to pack the program. But speakers and attendees alike appreciate a focused agenda that stays on schedule.
To keep the schedule on track, allocate a concrete time range for each section of your all-hands based on goals and priorities.
Consider this high-level framework when building a detailed agenda:
- Community: recognize team members for big wins or achieving milestones, give shoutouts for a job well done or success, and more.
- Business: use this time to review key numbers and metrics, share new initiatives, product launches, development priorities or partnerships, or other company-focused news.
- Q&A: even though this should be incorporated throughout, leave a dedicated slot for Q&A and feedback from the team. Make it easy to submit questions, answer polls, or collaborate with an integrated event platform.
Bonus tip: To avoid agenda overruns, sync with all speakers before the meeting and give them the time cues. And during the event, designate a timer and channel for communicating the timings to keep the schedule on track.
3. Decide the format
Many organizations have hoped to transition their all-hands meetings back to in-person this year. But as Omicron continues to create uncertainty, determining whether to be 100 percent in-person, 100 percent virtual, or a hybrid combination of the two, decide the approach that will work best for your audience, goals, and priorities at the present moment.
If the format will be completely virtual again, this is the time to consider a different approach. Incorporate innovative ideas to make it a great experience for your team.
Bonus tip: Friendly competition helps connect and unite teams. No matter the format for your all-hands meeting, give your audience easy-to-use tools that allow them to share ideas or brainstorm with their peers.
4. Streamline the attendee journey
No one wants complicated or time-consuming downloads or multiple programs to set up to participate in an all-hands meeting.
Streamline the attendee journey by making it simple for the audience to participate or engage with your meeting content.
Bonus tip: Look for a platform that can be accessed from any browser or device without a required installation to keep the team focused on the meeting message – and not tech trouble-shooting.
5. Start engagement before the event
One of the best strategies to create an all-hands meeting with impact is to begin a dialog before the event. For example, allow attendees to provide input into the program or topics through a pre-event poll or survey. Or, let them nominate colleagues for a shoutout or recognition shared during the meeting.
Activities like these create a sense of ownership in the meeting and give the group something to look forward to.
Bonus tip: In the last two years, it’s likely new employees have joined your organization, but not everyone has had a chance to meet each other yet. Add in pre-event online networking to help new and old colleagues get an opportunity to connect. These can be simple lunch chats leading up to your all-hands meetings or a structured event to open or close the event.
6. Kick it off with an icebreaker
Even the most eager employees need a little warm-up to get the energy going, especially in virtual formats.
Cue up an energetic playlist to play for as the group walks in – whether it’s a virtual or physical room. This gives everyone something to start talking about right off the bat.
You can also kick it off by asking a trivia question or posing a question for the group to answer in the chat. Or share a brief, light-hearted poll to start the engagement.
Bonus tip: Add a new level of visual appeal by taking employee responses and displaying them as a Word Cloud. The unexpected format catches attention while at the same time helping comebacks or trends stand out.
7. Showcase team members on stage
Your team is full of talent – and it isn’t just the executives. So tap into the entire group’s skills by making them part of the presentation.
Invite them to share more personal stories about product development news, explain the details behind a big win, or for something completely different, showcase an unusual skill or talent that helps the group get to know them as an individual.
Bonus tip: If employees feel shy about speaking live in front of the group, let them pre-record (and re-record if necessary) a short video. Compile videos into an all-hands highlights reel that can be played as part of the opening or closing or sprinkled throughout the agenda.
All-hands meetings reflect the effort you put into them. And when it comes to the information you share and how it’s presented, an integrated event platform like ConnexMe can get your team excited about accomplishments and the opportunities ahead.