Employee Meetings are a great platform to align the rest of the organisation on the vision, strategy, performance, and other key company information. A wonderful opportunity for leaders to meet employees, in-person. If you have an Employee Meeting or an All Hands coming up, take a look at some of the steps you may find useful while organising one as a Communications professional.
Schedule for an hour or less, short but impactful:
With increasing workloads and a general impatience for meetings, decreasing attention spans, it’s best to keep employee meetings short and meaningful. Content will always be King, people come and go. Experiment different formats based on Speaker confidence and style, announcements, etc.
Never take the time for granted – it’s all you get to make a lasting impression, till the next one.
Make the most of your external communications, internally:
With time, date and venue set for the Employee Meeting, design a visually appealing Email Invite. Send out a Calendar Invite so employees can block their time in advance. Keep minimal information on the Invite – Date, Time, Venue, Speakers, an additional (optional) line on theme without giving too much away. Publish them across your Digital displays, Intranet, Posters (if required), etc.
Gauge Mood, Get Probable Questions:
Meet the influencers in your organisation to gauge mood of employees, at least two weeks before the Employee Meeting. Write down questions based on the conversations you have with them. Ask them for questions they would like answered as part of the presentation.
Create a Messaging Document:
A messaging document, not longer than a page or two, should be created for the CEO/Key Speaker which gives an overview of the Flow, Highlights of previous Employee Meeting, Facts and Background, What went well last time, Key Talk Points, and Questions gathered from various credible sources.
Prepare in advance for the Q&A sessions:
The Q&A sessions are usually 15-20 minutes, enough time to respond to key questions. Most employees shy away from asking questions in front of a large audience. Its good to have a few employees prepare themselves in advance in case there is none.
An Employee Meeting can never be successful without the support of key partners in IT, Workplace Solutions (Security & Facilities), and Human Resources.
Ensure the IT team is aware of details pertaining to Flow of the 45-60 minute session. Test in advance the resolution required to display presentations, colours to go with lighting, fonts for best visibility, sound and light systems, Demos, etc.
Get all the necessary details from HR on employee count and necessary background information regarding current employees for your logistics and documentation.
Make sure your seating arrangements are thought through. Bar stools or tables required onstage for speakers, etc. Number of seats for employees. Can’t have too many, cannot have too less. Availability and accessibility of extra chairs if need arises. Get as detailed as possible for the best experience.
The Gates, The Gates! The rush post a large meeting must not be underestimated. People want to get out, quickly. With only 2-4 lifts for over a 1000 employees will prove frustrating for organisers and employees.
Offline only, or Offline-Online both?
This is a tricky one. Remote workers or Captive employees should be connected via internal conferencing solutions. Whereas, those in campus must be invited for an in-person session. Customise as per type of organisation, but try to keep it in-person as much as possible.
If you have the above covered, you are all set for a stress-free Employee Meeting.
These tips are based on my experience with a software organisation with over 5000 employees.