All-Hands Meetings: Redefining the Idea of Transparency

Juraj Holub

The future of work lies in empowering young talent, which wants to make the world a better place. What can corporations do about it?

The Millennial Survey conducted by Deloitte in 2015 found that the business world is getting it wrong. The results came from 7,800 future leaders from 29 countries. Some 75% say that they feel businesses are focused on their own agendas rather than on improving society, while only over a quarter say they feel their current organization is making full use of their skills.

This could be one of the main reasons why startups are becoming the major force in attracting top talent.

Young talent seems to be attracted to companies with a purpose and a high level of personal responsibility and transparency.

Many companies use buzzwords such as impact quite often, but the thing which separates the successful ones from the rest is that they don’t fake their impact. Companies need to revolve around their purpose in order to be authentic.

Young talent seems to be attracted to companies with a purpose and transparency. Click To Tweet

With inclusion toward greater commitment

Recruiting and retaining the top talent of tomorrow starts with creating some value today.

Value means giving a voice to everybody in the company. It means inclusion. It is as much a social capability as it is an intellectual one.

Ironically, another study conducted by David Witt found that only 14% of people understood their company’s strategy and only 24% felt the strategy was linked to their individual accountabilities.

Only 14% of people understood their company's strategy. Click To Tweet

To bridge the gap, many executives attempt to increase their understanding with PowerPoint slides.

But it rarely helps.

People’s depth of commitment increases when they, not their leader, are talking. And that requires turning one-way presentations into two-way conversations.

Meetings essential for creating transparency

For this and other reasons, many forward-looking companies such as Google, Yahoo, Zappos, or Spotify have already started to conduct all-hands meetings where they incorporate digital tools with the goal of increasing the transparency and personal responsibility of their team members.

These town hall meetings are designed to disseminate critical information across the company and, most importantly, they support two-way communication that enables people to interact with their leadership.

While holding all-employee meetings can be far-reaching, to create a culture of free expression, transparency, and trust, another element has been proved to be essential – an interaction platform that allows employees to safely raise their concerns.

Technology as a conversation enabler

While having a digital tool that allows employees to submit questions and concerns is important, there is another aspect that has an impact on the quality of the questions.

After analyzing almost 10,000 questions, we learned that 78% of employees prefer asking questions anonymously. The statement that anonymity contributes to creating a culture of transparency may sound like an oxymoron.

But if you give it a second thought, having the anonymously crowdsourced content allows for a focus on issues rather than on the individuals who raised those concerns.

78% of employees prefer asking questions anonymously. Click To Tweet

Confirming another hypothesis, anonymous questions received on average 75% more upvotes than questions tagged with names. We can assume that anonymous questions thus revolve around topics that employees find really important to discuss.

Anonymous questions received on average 75% more upvotes than questions tagged with names. Click To Tweet

And that can be critical for the relevancy and quality of the conversation, which in turn helps people understand the company’s goals, its purpose and their individual roles in it. Something like that can be hard to achieve with a set of guidelines or job role descriptions.

Wrap up

All-hands meetings that revolve around conversations can be the right vehicle to clarify the company’s purpose, help employees understand its strategy and align it with the individual accountabilities.

Because only when everyone is in sync and feels the purpose and personal commitment, can the company boat sail onward fast. As Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said: “Rowing teams know that if you row together in sync, you’ll go faster.”

And that can be decisive in retaining young talent and winning in today’s fast-paced world.

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