Are You Making the Most of Your All-​Hands Meetings?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Do your all-​hands meetings generate loyalty and boost employee engagement? If you’re struggling to maintain a cohesive workforce as employees continue to work from home, you might be tempted to hold quarterly all-​hands meetings. These meetings can quickly turn into a nonproductive use of time with employees tuning out because they’re faced with yet another boring slide presentation. RV Victorino’s post on Slab reveals how senior managers are missing opportunities to transform all-​hands meetings into events that excite and energize employees.


The key question any manager should ask before setting a meeting centers on purpose. Why are you holding the meeting? What do you want employees to get out of the meeting? For an agile development team, the daily scrum is all about discussing roadblocks that employees face and resolving, on-​the-​spot, how to remove them so that work can continue. The purpose of a quarterly all-​hands meetings can be about sharing good news, such as a big sale, congratulating a staff member on a promotion or updating everyone on the latest product release.


Nothing disengages your team members more than predictability. As much as employees say they enjoy working from home, many of them are tired of balancing child care and work responsibilities. They’re weary of constantly preparing meals at home or ordering takeout that’s lukewarm when it arrives. When they hear that there's another quarterly all-​hands meeting, they know they won’t be in the office sharing jokes with colleagues or enjoying lunch brought in from their favorite deli. They’re probably also dreading sitting alone in their home workspace and watching slide after slide of data that doesn’t matter much to them.

You can get rid of this problem by engaging more participants in the meeting. Ask each presenter to incorporate questions that require answers during the presentation using the interactive features of your video tool. Your employees are more likely to remember important details if you add gaming elements into the question and answer sessions. Everyone would enjoy the chance to win a gift card.

Instead of a presentation that reviews the same details in every quarterly all-​hands meeting, ask one team to tell the story of how they managed a difficult customer service situation or how they closed a deal. People enjoy hearing a good story. And when the moral of the story fits the company purpose, employees will feel better about what they are doing on a daily basis.


If you hold your all-​hands meetings too frequently, you risk employee burnout. And you also risk the problem of lack of preparedness. To pull off an excellent all-​hands meeting, someone must invest time and effort, and it can be a challenge to find the right balance. One person should be tasked with organizing the details of the meeting and with keeping everything on track. Remember to focus on progress of the organization’s long-​term goals and give updates on how each team is doing in their efforts to meet those goals.

Making the Most of Your All-​Hands Meetings

Quarterly all-​hands meetings may work perfectly for an organization that is committed to maintaining a distributed workforce. In just an hour or two, your company’s leaders and managers can share successes and challenges they’ve experienced. Once or twice a year, one or two-​day sessions, along with team building exercises or outings (after we get the all-​clear on the pandemic), are an excellent way to encourage employees to get to know each other.

As you put together your all-​hands meetings, think about purpose, planning and participation. Nobody enjoys sitting through too many meetings, but a good all-​hands gathering can boost employee morale, especially when so many of us continue to work in remote locations.