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 (75 minutes):
- Opening: 5 min
- Business Updates: 15 – 20 min
- Special Session: 10 min
- Celebrating the People: 10 min
- Product Updates: 5 – 10 min
- Ask Me Anything: 20 min
- Feedback: 2 min
Below is a more detailed view of how we structure our monthly 140-person all-hands at Slido.
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.
It happened organically, but each all-hands revolves around a certain topic. When it’s a wrap up of a season, we use pictures to recap the highlights. Other times, it can be more focused on remote attendees and our CEO presents from a remote location.
After we set the atmosphere in the room, our CEO Peter takes the stage to give us updates on our business priorities. He walks us through the last month’s numbers and comments on how we are progressing towards our goals.
Then he asks the department leads to present their updates and highlights.
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.
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.
There’s always something new going on in the business every month. Sometimes there’s an inspiring story a customer shared with us or new insights that might reshuffle our priorities.
That’s why we have a dedicated time in our agenda to mention things that deserve the spotlight or need our attention.
For example, our Head of Customer Success Jo hosted a session on customer struggles to help people better understand the company’s key focus for the quarter. Other time, we revisited the company strategy to make sure our employees don’t lose sight of the big picture.
Celebrating the People
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.
Shout-out to 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.
As a thank you for their loyalty, we celebrate our employees’ work anniversaries by reminding everyone of how long they’ve been part of Slido.
Recognizing silent 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 a seemingly invisible piece of work for the team, every month we ask everyone to nominate one person as their silent hero.
Our CEO encourages people to take 30 seconds to think about a person who went above and beyond and submit his or her name into the word cloud poll. We use our unique Slack handles since we don’t want people to confuse Michael with another Michael in the team.
After everyone has sent in the name, we display them on a screen and reward those team members that were recognized most often.
We recently added an open-text poll so that people can tell us why they nominate this person. In the following days, we share these comments with our colleagues in a private Slack message to brighten their day.
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.
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
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.
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.