When you grow as a company, strategic internal communication becomes more important than ever. Having grown from 20 to 90+ employees across 8 countries in the past 2 years, it has become our key priority to keep our distributed teams up-to-date and regularly sync on what’s important.
To achieve that, we followed the example of many innovative tech companies and started organizing our own monthly all-hands meetings.
Over time, we introduced a handful of facilitation techniques that have gradually become an organic part of our meetings and shaped our company culture. They help us keep the team highly engaged, build trust and drive alignment on company priorities.
Below, we share our learnings and tips. We hope you’ll find them useful.
Having all your team members in one room gives you the perfect opportunity to make them feel part of the company’s achievements. Celebrating the key moments together also keeps everyone up-to-date with what other teams have been working on.
Instead of announcing the highlights from the stage, we gave this exercise a more interactive spin.
Our CEO Peter puts people in pairs or small groups and gives them a few minutes for sharing their personal highlights. Only after the short discussions take place, he asks everyone to submit and upvote the monthly highlights in Slido.
Finally, he reviews the top ones on screen and gives credit where due.
All-hands meetings are also a perfect place to celebrate the people who made the highlights possible. During our early all-hands, we used to applaud only the client-facing team members from the Customer Success team, completely ignoring all the silent contributors.
We wanted to change that.
To acknowledge those working hard behind the scenes, we introduced the activity called silent heroes. We ask the team to nominate a person who helped them the most or went an extra mile during the past month. By using a word cloud poll to crowdsource the names, we are able to distinguish the company heroes of the month easily.
Moreover, this activity boosts the team morale of the entire company as there are dozens of other names that pop up on screen. It’s a powerful thing to see one’s name on screen. It means a person is somebody else’s hero. And that’s not a small feat!
⭐ Pro tip: The chances are, there is more than one ‘Mike’ or ‘Ann’ in your company. Or people can refer to the same Mike with three different nicknames. To achieve accurate results, make sure to agree on the unified format of names prior to the voting. We agreed internally on using our unique Slack nicknames.
No town hall is complete without the Q&A section. Marcel Schwantes advises, “You should allow everyone to ask questions, even tough ones, and then address them during the all-hands’ meetings.”
For our meetings, we start collecting the questions in advance and then encourage people to submit any outstanding ones throughout the all-hands.
Ask Me Anything sessions have become absolutely indispensable to our team. By showing people that their concerns matter and that we’re willing to discuss them openly, Q&As have become one of the cornerstones of creating our own culture of transparency.
⭐ Pro tip: If you are running out of time but still have some relevant questions left unanswered, follow up with the replies after the meeting to show appreciation for your employees’ contributions.
New hires tend to fear the obligatory “introduce yourself” exercise in front of a room full of future colleagues.
To make it fun for both shy and vocal newbies, we designed a simple interactive quiz based on the concept of Two Truths and a Lie. Prior to the meeting, we collected two true and one false fact from our newbies and created a series of polls. We appointed a moderator who ran the whole activity and took the burden of delivering a flawless intro off the rookies’ shoulders.
Town hall meetings can be the right spot to review and discuss the overall mood in the company. Inspired by Google’s internal satisfaction barometer, we readjusted the survey to evaluate the happiness of our team at work.
We send out the survey in advance and get people to fill it in before the actual meeting (sometimes, a few reminders are necessary). After collecting the ratings, we share and openly discuss the results live with the entire team.
This survey allows us to identify the areas where we need to do better and see how the satisfaction of our employees changes over time. Needless to say, we take the suggestions to our HR team and try to come up with the best ways to implement them.
⭐ Pro tip: We ask 10 questions relating to personal excitement, quality standards, team productivity, learning and development, etc. There is also an open-text field where the employees can expand on their feelings.
The best all-hands meetings revolve around employees and the successes you have accomplished together. Leverage these gatherings to boost team morale and reinforce company culture. Using engaging techniques like the above, you can empower people, enforce the feeling of togetherness and re-focus them on the company vision.