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All Hands Meetings in 2024: The Ultimate Guide

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All hands meetings are gatherings for an entire organization that promote communication and information sharing. These meetings enable information sharing as well as feedback sharing, and they provide you with an opportunity to make connections.

Moreover, with the help of all-hands meetings, you will be able to unite your company so that everyone can align with your company culture and goals. 

Without further ado, let’s dive deeper into engaging your employees with an exceptional all hands meeting experience!  

Make your meetings count!

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What is An All Hands Meeting?

The idiom “all hands on deck” is where the name “all hands meeting” comes from. “All hands on deck” suggests a critical situation on board where the captain needs the entire crew to pay attention.

Despite not being the same as the idiomatic meaning, what we mean by all-hands meetings still involves teamwork. However, all-hands meetings don’t have to involve emergencies.

An all hands meeting is a gathering that includes all of your employees and these meetings are different from team meetings because they include all departments and every employee within your organization.

You can achieve the following with the help of all-hands meetings:

  • Engage your employees.
  • Align the staff with your company culture. 
  • Recognize the contributions. 
  • Allow your employees to ask questions and provide feedback. 

What to cover in an all-hands meeting? 

Each organization has different priorities but, you can consider these topics to cover during your company-wide meetings:

  1. Ice breakers
  2. Introduction of new hires 
  3. Business results
  4. Updates
  5. Invite an expert
  6. Success stories
  7. Employee recognition
  8. Company values
  9. Feedback

Benefits of All Hands Meetings

benefits of all hands meetings
Benefits of all-hands meetings.

The benefits of all-hands meetings include:

1. Allows your employees to connect 

If you are operating remotely, your employees may be scattered across the globe. Some of them might even be seeking out opportunities to meet their colleagues.

With an all hands meeting, you will be able to bring your employees together and this will allow them to build new connections.

These new connections can bring new business ideas or projects to life. And this will lead your business in a positive direction. 

2. An opportunity to recognize accomplishments

All hands meetings are great opportunities to honor the achievements of your employees. They put in their best effort to triumph over the competitors, so they deserve a little moment of praise.

Especially, if their schedules are overwhelming, then you need to talk about their achievements and give them reassurance on how skilled they are which will further motivate them to do their best. 

3. Builds a transparent and interactive communication style

When you allocate time for employee questions and ideas, you can address important topics. Rather than bombarding them with business-related topics, allow for interaction so the discussion can be more engaging.

Hearing their ideas and questions will also make them feel heard and they will be more motivated to come up with good ideas. 

Moreover, when you answer questions transparently, all hands meetings will help you create an open communication style in your company.

4. Highlights your company values

With the help of allhands meetings, you can emphasize your organization’s values such as mission, vision, and common goals.

When people understand that they are working toward goals and find meaning in their work, they go above and beyond to create the best results. And this will ultimately boost productivity.

How often should you have all hands meetings? 

If you are running a big company, the need for organizing a company-wide gathering becomes even more apparent since it’s more difficult for bigger companies to bring everyone on the same page. 

There might be some big news or updates, so you need an event to make the announcements. All hands meetings allow you to celebrate big milestones or great news with your employees.

Although some companies schedule quarterly, monthly, or weekly meetings, others only host these events once a year. 

However, the ideal meeting cadence for these gatherings is typically once per month or once every three months. If there are more announcements or time-consuming activities, you can change the meeting frequency or duration. 

How to Create an All Hands Meeting Agenda?

Before reading more, you can take a look at our article, How to Create a Meeting Agenda in Microsoft Teams for more inspiration. If you prefer video content to get inspired, we’ve got that sorted out for you as well!

1. Use icebreakers

Given the fact that all hands meetings are company-wide events where employees might meet for the first time, there will be social awkwardness at the beginning.

Icebreakers are one of the entertaining all hands meeting ideas that remove social barriers and make your employees feel more comfortable with each other. While they can be implemented as a virtual team-building activity they can also be used in person.

You can implement scavenger hunts to remove the initial social awkwardness. For this activity, give your employees the locations and tell them to take selfies in those locations. The person who took the most selfies in a given period would win.

Or if you are having a remote all hands call, you can ask your employees to introduce their pets. Ask them to talk about a fun and memorable experience they had with their pets. If they don’t have any pets they can introduce their beloved plants too!

2. Introduce new hires

It’s time to move on to discussing company matters after the icebreakers. By introducing your new employees. you are smoothly changing the tone of your conference.

This component of the all hands meeting agenda doesn’t involve business data, but it’s still about your organization and they are perfect for transitioning.

By welcoming your new hires at these meetings you’re showing that they are valued. To introduce them, you can just give the relevant personal information including their departments, positions, emails, or LinkedIn profiles.

3. Discuss business results

It’s time to talk about important metrics and numbers but this section can be gamified as well. To gamify this section, you can simply ask your employees to guess the number and business results that show how your company is standing.

By gamifying this section you can incorporate fun competition to motivate employees and engage them.

4. Talk about updates

The next section involves updating your employees on the progress of important projects and company goals. Project leads can share the developments in their projects and to make this section more interactive they can ask quiz questions.

5. Invite an expert

A guest speaker who is an expert in their field and who is great at public speaking can add a bit of spice to your all hands meetings.

The expert can talk about how to improve a valuable skill or an attitude to be more productive such as self-motivation.

You can also invite a psychologist to talk about self-improvement, which may include topics like how to be more confident at work and how to alleviate stress.

The subject of these talks doesn’t have to be business-related. The speaker can pick a topic that is interesting to fascinate your employees so you can increase engagement in the event.

6. Implement a short hackathon

Although hackathons are typically 24 to 48 hours long, you can have an hour-long hackathon to strengthen collaboration and communication among your employees.

Hackathons will also allow your employees to come up with interesting ideas and solutions.

You can put your employees in different groups and ask them to find a catchy slogan or create an original sales pitch.

To allow your employees to brainstorm in a virtual setting, you can use breakout rooms. And for the in-person events, you can simply provide different rooms for the teams to collaborate.

7. Talk about success stories

Incorporating success stories into your all hands meetings will motivate your employees. So, you should talk about success stories with certain customers for your employees to exceed performance expectations.

Sense of accomplishment and providing value to others will also give purpose and determination to your employees.

8. Recognize your employees

Employee recognition

After success stories, it’s time to talk about success on a more individual level. For this, you can celebrate the accomplishments by recognizing your employees.

To have an interactive activity, ask your employees to write positive messages about their colleagues. They can comment on their colleagues’ efforts and accomplishments. After the event, you should privately share the positive comments with the recipients.

9. Highlight company values

Your company values are like roadmaps that give employees direction and purpose. So, you should highlight your company values and increase alignment with them in all hands meetings.

You can pick a certain company value to emphasize in each all-employee meeting. You may also include employees by talking about occasions where they displayed the specific company value.

10. Include an AMA (ask me anything) session

In this section, the executives of your company answer questions and address concerns. Moreover, these sessions will help your employees to see the leadership from a more personal perspective. In other words, they will see the human and fun side of their executives.

It’s important to note that AMA sessions are not for expressing resentment. So, any resentment toward the management should be addressed privately.

11. Collect feedback and wrap up

You can ask your employees to provide feedback at the end of your all hands meetings. This will allow you to identify what needs improvement.

You can also talk about a few takeaway messages and then wrap up. Lastly, you should end the meeting by thanking your employees for their contributions and attendance.

All Hands Meeting Agenda

You can use our all hands meeting agenda to streamline your meetings. Using this all hands meeting agenda will provide you with a framework and it will help you smoothly transition from one meeting activity to another.

all hands meetings: agenda

10 Tips to Improve Your All Hands Meetings

1. Use meeting software: Teamflect

You can create productive discussions in your meetings by incorporating goals, tasks, and feedback into your agenda with Teamflect.

Teamflect provides real-time access to performance data, including goal completion rates, reviews, and feedback templates, which fosters informed discussions in all hands meetings.

Effortlessly monitor your organization’s meeting landscape with comprehensive reports. Access detailed Power BI reports on meeting data which enables analysis to enhance overall meeting productivity.

Recognized by Microsoft, Teamflect has been featured as one of the top meeting tools for Microsoft Teams, solidifying its reputation as a reliable solution.

2. Make it fun!

If you want your employees to look forward to your periodic all hands meetings, then you need to incorporate fun activities. To create an entertaining experience incorporate icebreakers and short quizzes. You can also run a hackathon or other team contests and reward the winner at the end of it.

3. Use a meeting agenda

Creating a meeting agenda is convenient since it will provide you with a structure and facilitate your meetings.

You can draw inspiration from our free all hands meeting agenda template. While you are creating your own all hands meeting template, you can also ask for feedback to make sure you include the important details.

4. Try to simplify your jargon

To avoid confusing your audience, you need to provide them with the fundamental concepts first. Then you can dive deeper. But, it’s always a good idea to avoid complicated jargon and simplify your presentation.

5. Diversify your speakers

Diversify Your Speakers

People like variety and this applies to speakers at conferences as well. When you include different speakers at your all hands meetings you are making it more interesting and engaging.

To achieve this, incorporate AMA sessions and have your executives take part in those sessions. But for other sections, consider giving the microphone to lower-level management.

6. Create appealing visuals

Visuals are essential components of any activity that requires attention and engagement. Without the help of captivating visuals, presenting business-related topics will be more difficult and less engaging.

To increase engagement, you can also share the pictures of your employees while praising their contributions but you need to ask for their permission first.

7. Make it interactive

When people find something more relatable, they are more likely to be engaged. To make your presentation more relatable, you need to interact with your employees.

Having AMA sessions and allowing your employees to ask questions, in general, will help you achieve this.

8. Use different rooms

You should use different rooms to allow for discussions and to make it easier for teams to communicate during hackathons or other team contests.

It’s also possible to incorporate break-out rooms so that your employees can virtually discuss important subjects in an inclusive environment.

9. Record the meeting

Different time zones, conflicting schedules, or other interruptions may prevent your employees from being present at your all hands meeting.

However, you will be discussing important matters in an engaging way, so they might not want to miss out on this experience. For this reason, you can record the meeting.

Conclusion

All hands meetings will help you build new connections, make your employees feel appreciated, help you build a transparent and interactive communication style, and help you highlight your company values so your employees can find meaning in their jobs.

Implementing these all hands meeting ideas will help you improve productivity and increase employee morale. It’s important to keep in mind that all hands meetings are more comprehensive than regular meetings so they require extra effort to create and execute.

But, with these best practices and tips, you can create an all hands meeting experience that is engaging and informative.

Make sure to incorporate fun all hands meeting ideas and gamify your all employee meetings as much as you can so your employees find the all hands meeting interesting.

Teamflect will be your most valuable tool when it comes to facilitating your all hands meetings. To start streamlining your meetings, why not schedule a demo by clicking the button below?

Written by Duygu Soysanli

Duygu is a content writer who enthusiastically writes useful content about the dynamic world of HR.

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