How to Build an All-Hands Meeting Agenda That Will Keep You on Track

Dasa Kasparova

All-hands meetings are a costly exercise for your business. To ensure they don’t fall short of their objective, you need to arm them with a bulletproof all-hands meeting agenda.

After organizing a lot of town hall meetings ourselves, we’d like to share our schedule for your inspiration. Feel free to modify it as you see fit.

Our all-hands agenda in a nutshell (90 minutes):

  • Opening: 5 min
  • Business Updates: 30 min
  • Company Strategy Review: 10 min
  • People Updates: 10 min
  • Product Updates: 10 min
  • Ask Me Anything: 20 min
  • Feedback: 5 min

Below is a more detailed view of how we structure our monthly 130-person all-hands at Slido.

Opening

We start by welcoming everyone in the room, especially the people online. We live stream both the audience sitting in the HQ and the presenters on stage so our remote colleagues feel more connected to what’s happening onsite.

We like to throw in some icebreaking elements to kick off the meeting, e.g., a recap of the previous months in pictures. Other times, we come up with a fun poll on Slido or share someone’s personal event – such as a new baby in our Slido family.

Business Updates

After we set the atmosphere in the room, our CEO Peter takes the stage to give us updates on our business goals. He reviews the last month’s numbers and if any of the areas has scored lower/higher than expected, he comments on the circumstances that might have caused it.

Then he asks the department leads to present their updates and highlights.

All hands meeting agenda at Slido
Slido’s Marketing Director Juraj facilitating our recent all-hands meeting.

We usually review successful event collaborations of the past month and look at what’s coming next. Then we move on to other areas like sales and net retention, and share updates on our customers.

As a part of this, our colleagues present interesting stories or new insights and introduce their teams’ next priorities.

We hold mini Q&As after every speaker to see if our employees have understood the information presented. They can ask questions via our Q&A app Slido at any point during the talks and the presenters will address them after their talks.

Tip: To make these presentations more interactive, we sometimes turn them into a quiz. So instead of giving the whole story, we ask: How long did it take to close the deal with [client]?

These quick polls break off people’s listening mode and allow them to learn something new about the business.

Company Strategy Review

After sharing key numbers from the past month, it’s good to put them into wider context and link them to the overarching company strategy.

To make sure our employees don’t lose sight of the big picture in their day-to-day workloads, we remind them regularly of where we’re heading, why, and how we plan to get there.

Sometimes, our CEO revisits the company goals to make sure we’re aligned. Also, at our recent all-hands, our Head of Customer Success shared concrete customer stories and struggles to help people better understand the company’s key focus for the quarter.

People Updates

Once the more serious stuff is behind us, we focus on our employees. After all, town halls should not only be for them, but also about them.

Here are some of the activities we do to strengthen team morale.

Celebrating newbies as well as the oldies

We start by giving a warm welcome to the new faces in the audience. We show their names and pictures on a slide and let the others know which team they’re joining.

But it’s equally important to recognize those who’ve been with the company longer.

Our colleagues’ Slido anniversaries.

As a thank you for their loyalty, we celebrate our employees’ work anniversaries and remind everyone of how long they’ve been part of Slido.

Recognizing unsung heroes

Our all-hands wouldn’t be complete without our favorite silent hero activity.

To bring into the spotlight colleagues who did some outstanding, yet seemingly invisible piece of work for the team, every month we ask each team member to nominate one person who went above and beyond for them.

We use a word cloud poll to catch people’s responses and then display the results on a screen. The hero(es) that receive the highest number of votes get rewarded on stage. Apart from a warm, fuzzy feeling, we also give them some sweet treats.

Thank yous

Once in a while, people embark on a new journey and there comes a time when we have to say goodbye. In such cases, our CEO takes the stage and announces the news, giving us more context and expressing his gratitude to the departing teammate on behalf of the whole company.

To keep our spirits up, we wrap up this part with some light announcements such as the dates of upcoming internal events or other operations updates.

Product Updates

Since we’re in the SaaS business, we devote a chunk of our all-hands to product news. Our QA Lead Filip recaps what’s been released, what our team is working on and what’s coming next.

Ask Me Anything

Finally, there’s the Q&A session with our CEO Peter where everyone can raise their concerns and get their questions answered. It’s one of the main reasons why we organize all-hands in the first place – that’s why we allocate it almost one-quarter of the agenda.

Our employees can ask questions before and during the all-hands via Slido. We run our AMA as a fireside chat – there’s always a moderator on stage who poses the questions coming through Slido and groups the relevant ones together.

The Internal Communications Manager Kristina interviews our CEO Peter during the Q&A.

If we run out of time, we address the remaining questions after the meeting. It’s important for us to ensure that no question has been left unanswered.

Related story: How to Host Better Q&A Sessions at All-Hands Meetings

Feedback

Before our town hall officially comes to an end, we ask our employees to fill in a short feedback survey. We want to know how valuable they found it and what they’d change.

Although it might seem redundant to do it at each all-hands, having these regular checks helps us identify any shortcomings and makes our all-hands time well spent for everyone.

Here’s how to collect quick feedback via Slido.

And that’s it. You can use the above as a template for your next all-hands meeting agenda, adjusting it as needed. Just remember to change some of the activities once in a while to retain your employees’ attention.

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