In the spirit of collaboration and teamwork, businesses have regular all hands meetings. The practice that started many years ago by the IT giants such as Google and Microsoft, has since transcended into other industries. More and more companies are expanding globally. With this, usually comes a flat hierarchy and decentralization of services.
It is significantly harder to manage and coordinate with employees and customers all over the world. This can lead to time management issues, miscommunications and diminish product quality. To fix these problems, while maintaining the availability and high quality of the products and services, is it essential to have all hands meetings?
An all hands meeting is an all staff meeting attended by chief staff (CEO, CPO, CTO), middle management, regular employees, part-time employees and freelance workers. In these meetings, people are informed of company news, changes and rules among others. The basis on which a company decides to have the meetings can vary. All hands meetings can be held weekly, every other week, or monthly. This will depend on how large the company is and how many updates there are. For example, we at Aladdin B2B have an all hands meeting every month. That being said, even though an all hands meeting is important sometimes it can last a long time. Therefore, we have identified eight ideas to make the meeting interesting and enjoyable for the employees.
Agenda planning and logistics for all hands meetings
In order to have a productive meeting, we need to plan earlier. Having an agenda, employees will know how long the meeting will last. Moreover, they will approximately know at which point in time, is which part on the agenda.
Another important thing to keep in mind is logistics. Try to choose user-friendly platforms and tools for the all hands meeting. This because not all employees are IT experts. Choosing the right tools will help in providing an accessible environment for everyone. It will also avoid delays caused by technical problems such as audio/video problems, platform limit for users and time, and incorrect setups/installs by employees
Welcome new hires in your all hands meetings
Companies that are expanding their business in different geographical regions are hiring new people frequently. An all hands meeting is a perfect time to welcome them to the team. In this time slot, they can briefly introduce themselves. In addition, they can see and interact with their colleagues, if they have not had the chance to do so.
Discuss Accomplishments in all hands meetings
In the all hands meeting, a point in the agenda should be accomplishments. This can be overall company accomplishments or newly signed deals with customers. However, some moments should also be dedicated to your current employees.
If a team or employees worked incredibly well or accomplished something important, it would be great to give a shout-out to them. This will let your employees know they are appreciated and motivate them to continue their excellent work.
Moderation of the meeting
Having a large number of employees that can talk simultaneously can cause chaos in the meeting. Consequently, it is very important to appoint the main moderator. This person will start the meeting and go through each point in the agenda. He or she will also manage the time and will interrupt people if needed, in order to avoid prolonging the meeting unnecessarily. The moderator can also be responsible for electing the talking turns of the participants in the meeting. However, it is also a good idea to have multiple moderators. Each person would take turns moderating the meeting. This would ensure that the other moderators rest and would keep the meeting interesting for the other participants.
Informal time and ice breakers
With companies having branches all across the globe, many employees do not know their colleagues. Hence, it is a great idea to dedicate a time slot for this. This can be the “informal time” slot, to help people socialize with each other. During this time, you can also have ice breaker questions that would engage people in the meetings. You can also play music, funny videos, tell jokes or exercise together. All these different activities can help in the bonding process.
During all hands meetings, companies present facts and profit numbers to their employees. Instead of doing that, more interesting would be to create a poll or a quiz. This can be a guess correctly challenge. The questions can be with multiple choice answers and the employees can play answering the questions. This will not only inform the employees but also make the meeting more entertaining. Additionally, employees will remember better the information. This because they will probably be more focused during the games than just during a simple presentation.
Alternatively, this can also be done in groups. For example, people will be chosen randomly and form groups. They will go from the main meeting into break out rooms. There, they will discuss and answer the given questions. This way of gathering opinions would be beneficial for company research and strategy.
A pivotal part of all hands meetings are Q&A sessions. Each employee has the right to ask their questions and get the answers from their managers or bosses. It is advisable to get these questions beforehand. This way, if there are a lot of questions, there will be enough time to answer all of them. In addition to that, some employees might feel shy or insecure to ask some questions. In such cases, it is preferable to give the employees the option of asking the questions anonymously.
Companies in different industries, different time zones and geographic areas will most likely have employees with diverse backgrounds. Work ethic, language, customs and culture will highly affect the behavior of the employees. Thus, it is essential to have a feedback round, where all workers will express their thoughts on how to improve the meetings.
In conclusion, when it comes to all hands meetings, there is no one fit all solution for every company. However, we believe the points mentioned in this article will be valuable for the majority of companies. Taking into account, that all hands meetings are crucial for a company’s prosperity, we highly recommend incorporating at least some of these points in the agenda, as it will, surely, make this meeting a successful endeavor.