An all-hands meeting is an expensive affair! You’re essentially pausing all work at your company for 15 to 30 minutes. At our 30-person startup, that means we’re monopolizing up to 15 hours of manpower!!
But it’s worth it. An effective all-hands meeting can build trust and foster a sense of community with your employees. It can help teams and individuals who don’t normally work together feel connected on a personal and professional level. That is, it can do all this…once it has a solid agenda!
Here are six items to include on your all-hands meeting agenda.
Click here to jump to your SoapBox all-hands meeting agenda template!
1. Broader vision
This is how you should start every. single. all-hands meeting. Research shows that only 14% of employees understand your vision and strategy, so you should be repeating it ad nauseam until it’s etched into peoples minds!
This is different than reciting the mission and strategy of your company over and over – that’s important in its own right, but it won’t emotionally engage the people being asked to implement it.
That is where the company vision comes in. Your vision should be a realistic ideal state of the future that you believe your company and product are building. You should be able to articulate it in a clear and vivid way and you should be able to ask your employees to do the same. If this vision is compelling enough, it will be what helps people stay committed during the tough times.
2. State-of-the-nation metrics
Talking about your metrics in an accessible way is key to making your entire company to feel connected to the bigger goals you have 📊. That way, they’ll care if you’re not hitting them!
Forget the acronyms, high-level business concepts and confusing graphs. Be simple and specific. What is the number that matters most? What does it represent? Where are we in relation to that number? Where were we last week? What are your employees working on that is helping that number?
3. Customer and employee updates
Marking anniversaries and welcoming new faces to the company during an all-hands meeting is the perfect way to show that the CEO and leadership team care about the human updates at your company just as much as they care about the metrics and business updates.
As you scale, the number of heads being added and anniversaries being celebrated each week will grow – you might have to reconsider how efficient it is to share these updates during your all-hands meeting. But while you can, I recommend you do it!
This is also a great opportunity to shine a light on new customers that have started using your product. You can connect everyone’s OKRs to the overarching company goals – and celebrate a win or two. 🏆
A nice way to connect all the dots is to use your all-hands meeting as a way to share reminders that impact the entire company. This could include upcoming company events, highly-anticipated launches, HR initiatives…you name it. Your all-hands is a unique opportunity to get creative and generate hype around company-wide efforts and events.
Your all-hands meeting can quickly feel like it’s always one person dictating to the masses. To avoid that, invite a leader from a different department each week to present an update/learning/win from their line of business to the rest of the company.
6. AMA (Ask Me Anything)
Dedicating time to publicly answer questions that come right from the frontline is another way for an all-hands meeting to feel like something that the entire company can truly participate in. Even if you only answer one question each week, it’s a start and a way to show your employees that you’re committed to staying connected to them.
One word of advice: if you’re struggling to get questions during the all-hands meeting, create a space where people can submit questions anonymously. 😶
Other all-hands meeting tips:
💬 Make it interactive
No one wants a one-way broadcast from the “powers that be,” no matter how much they love you as a CEO. If that’s what your all-hand meeting is, I guarantee your employees don’t consider it a valuable use of their time.
📝 Change up the agenda
Playing around with new all-hands meeting ideas in your agenda will ensure you’re keeping your audience engaged and are getting the most value from that time together. Here are few one-off topics to try mixing into the agenda once in a while:
- Deep dive into large-scale changes: An all-hands meeting can be a great opportunity to explain the context (and silence the gossip!) behind significant employee departures, org changes, levelling framework changes and more.
- Meeting/management feedback synthesis: If there has been a company-wide survey sent recently, take some time to talk about what you’re going to do with the feedback.
- Team appreciation award: Pick a team that has produced particularly impressive results or tackled a tough issue, and share the impact their work has had on the company.
- Informal retro: Talk about what has improved over the past year, and what you still need to work on.
- Losses and Learnings: Share an unsuccessful story from a leadership level. It might seem awkward, but you’re creating an open and honest environment for failure and learning at your company.