How To Engage Remote Teams At An All-Hands Meeting
Getting everyone at your company in sync and moving in the same direction is not easy. Only 7% of employees fully understand their company’s business strategies and their role in achieving the company’s goals.
Creating organizational alignment is one of the most important things for growing your business. As Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff explains: “Rowing teams know that if you row together in sync, you’ll go faster.”
All-hands meetings are the perfect vehicle to disseminate critical information throughout your organization and ensure that everyone is working to meet shared goals. Keeping people in the room engaged is a challenge on its own. Things get even more complicated when your team is global. So how do you engage employees? To help your employees and colleagues get the most out of all-hands meetings, you need to make sure that they have the right tools to interact and speak up.
THE BENEFITS OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
1. Highly Engaged Meetings Are More Impactful
Meetings are costly. As a result, business owners need to maximize their impact with real engagement. “People in an audience who are emotionally involved get more out of the event. They learn and retain more,” says Corbin Ball, a meetings technology consultant.
2. Remove Miscommunication
As the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, said: Internal communication can easily turn into a “corporate telephone game, which as we all know, is a great source for misinformation.” If you successfully involve your employees in the conversation, all-hands meetings can be the right place to address and fix any communication noise and employee misinterpretations.
3. Send The Right Message
There are updates, milestones, and strategies that you need to communicate. Just because the meeting ends in applause doesn’t mean your message was understood. Creating room for two-way communication allows you to gauge the opinion of your employees and identify points that might need further clarification.
HOW TO CREATE MEANINGFUL ENGAGEMENT
1. Start Engagement Before Your Meeting
The first rule of an all-hands meeting is to invite everyone including your remote team. Don’t stop there. As with most things in life, preparation can help you maximize the effectiveness of your meetings. Along with sending the invitation, encourage people to submit their questions during the week leading up to the meeting.
Yahoo uses its own “Yahoo Moderator” while our clients use our tool Slido to collect the questions via a URL link beforehand.
To make your meeting even more focused, you can run a live poll to identify the most crucial topics. One of our New York clients has their team vote on the three hot topics prior to the meeting. Based on the order of topics in the list, the management is able to prepare in advance and prioritize the time accordingly.
2. Broadcast Your Meeting
At the risk of stating the obvious, if you want to involve your remote team, you need to share the content live. Nothing beats a live broadcast and you don’t need an entire crew to create an engaging livestream.
At our last all-hands meeting, we used the Mevo camera by Livestream to bring content to our remote colleagues. Mevo creates the appearance of a multi-camera shoot, all edited live in real-time on your mobile device. You can stream to Facebook Live or to your own website, allowing you to control the viewer experience.
3. Use Q&A + Live Polls To Enable Participation
You’ve got the camera rolling and your remote colleagues are focused on their screens. Now it’s critical to give people the tools to voice their questions and thoughts. We partnered with Livestream to give business leaders a secure, easy-to-use platform for crowd-sourcing employees’ questions and collecting instant feedback with live polls.
As one of our U.S. clients shared: “With constant changes in our company, Slido provides an engaging way for employees to ask tough questions and voice their opinions and concerns.”
While having a tool to submit questions is important, there is another element that has an impact on the quality of the questions. After analyzing almost 10,000 questions, we learned that 78% of employees prefer asking anonymously. It’s no surprise. Raising a hand and asking about the company’s bonus structure is not easy, but it doesn’t mean that people don’t have questions. They prefer doing it under the veil of anonymity so that they don’t feel embarrassed or have to worry about being penalized .
Confirming this hypothesis, anonymous questions received on average 75% more upvotes than questions tagged with names. We can conclude that the anonymous questions revolve around topics that employees find really important to discuss as the submissions gain a larger support among meeting participants.
4. Create Space For Interaction
While sharing information is important, all-hands meetings should be about your employees and their questions. Dedicate a sufficient part of your meeting to the Q&A session so you can have a real conversation. This enables you to get to the heart of what keeps your employees up at night.
A few tips that we use internally to create great meeting participation:
- Proactive facilitation: Ask people to take a moment to discuss in pairs or small groups before submitting their questions or other type of contributions such as personal highlights, feature ideas, etc.
- Have a mid-meeting Q&A session: Don’t wait until the end. Create regular mini Q&A or brainstorming sessions to take the employees’ questions and make them a part of the talk.
- Collect feedback in real time: Use polls to check the pulse of your team and gauge what your employees think about what you’ve just presented. The poll results are a great conversation starter, giving you a natural incentive to prompt volunteers to elaborate on why they voted the way they did.
To make sure that everyone is moving in the same direction, it’s critical to bring everyone together to sync on a regular basis. With livestreaming and interaction technology, you can now reach out to your remote teams and make them part of the all-hands meetings which, if run effectively, will enable you to create alignment and boost your business growth.
This guest blog post was contributed by Juraj Holub, US Marketing Director, Slido.
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