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.

 

Keep your employees engaged, no matter where they are. Download our PDF to learn more about livestreaming solutions for enterprise brands.

Using an eCDN for Corporate Communications

Imagine delivering a flawless, broadcast-quality live video message from your executive team, or a live training event, to all of your employees, on any device, wherever they are, without clogging your network bandwidth. Can your corporate network support live events for large audiences without creating a bandwidth bottleneck or crashing? This is something organizations must find solutions for when planning internal live broadcasts to ensure high-quality streaming for no-fail events.

Livestream’s new Peer-to-Peer Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN) solves for these issues by supporting an HD-quality seamless live viewing experience while minimizing the stress on your corporate network, reducing bandwidth consumption and cost, and maintaining privacy and security regulations.

Livestream’s eCDN for corporate communications empowers IT and communications teams to deliver a flawless streaming video event, without risking network health or compromising critical business functions.

What is eCDN?

An eCDN is an enterprise content delivery network, which is one way for companies to distribute content within their corporate network, creating a safety net for their internal bandwidth pipe.

A peer-to-peer eCDN helps to avoid network bottlenecks that occur when a large number of concurrent viewers in one office are watching the same content, such as a live broadcast. Instead of individual employee devices all pinging a single server to access a stream, a P2P eCDN reduces the amount of bandwidth needed coming from the external server. Instead, Livestream’s eCDN uses the bandwidth inside the company, redistributing the requests to devices within the LAN, improving stream quality and reducing the bandwidth load on a company’s internal network.

How Video Is Driving Corporate Communications Trends

Video is the fastest and easiest way to learn and retain information. Streaming your internal and all hands meetings has become de rigueur at large companies, but these in-demand, data-heavy streams can have massive network implications.

Today video is being used in organizations for a variety of purposes:
• Employee training and product demos
• All hands or town halls
• Internal HR events and panels

Streaming company-wide meetings is an effective way to keep employees engaged. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, engaged employees report 31% higher productivity and 37% higher sales. Conversely, the Dale Carnegie Institute reports that businesses with disengaged employees lose $11b annually.

This engagement data is driving demand for access to video in the workplace: according to Cisco, global business IP traffic is set to grow 21% from 2015 to 2021, which will require updated infrastructure to handle the load.

To avoid additional expenses or potential network failures, many corporations are considering eCDNs to meet these new challenges.

Traditional content delivery vs. Livestream’s eCDN for corporate communications

In a traditional content delivery setup, viewers connect to a server to obtain the streaming video they have requested. This server can either be inside the company or external – an example would be video content cached and delivered from a Cloud provider. Both of these setups have their limitations.

If everyone in the company tries to connect to a single server at the headquarters, the connections will quickly become saturated and the server will likely crash as it was not meant to handle thousands of simultaneous requests for data-heavy video.

If the server is in the cloud, companies often have significant limitations when it comes to connecting to the internet. They generally have a fixed capacity when it comes to external bandwidth, and networks are often not dimensioned for a massive amount of data requests from outside their network. Firewalls can further delay external calls, creating huge bottlenecks.

This makes streaming live video within the enterprise network very difficult. There are several means of mitigating this problem, and these solutions are collectively known as “eCDN.”

Solution 1: Install caching servers within the company network at each site.

Installing caching servers allows you to place a copy of the video close to your viewers to avoid the congestion of large numbers of requests to a single server. The challenge is this solution requires both significant CAPEX (cash) and OPEX (operating expenses). Servers are expensive, and installing and maintaining them requires significant expertise and dedicated personnel. In addition to regular maintenance, you’ll also need a dedicated IT team at each site to maintain servers to guarantee no-fail live streams.

Solution 2: Use an internal multicasting tool.

A multicasting tool broadcasts content en masse to every computer on the network. This requires specific equipment that supports multicast, and may also necessitate changing workstation software to be able to support multicast streams. This is not the “typical” streaming setup so it can require additional configuration in addition to this CAPEX.

Solution 3: Legacy P2P solutions.

Peer-to-peer within company networks has existed for many years. The principle of P2P is to use the abundant bandwidth within the enterprise network. However, the solutions on the market have had several major drawbacks: at the very least they have required users to install a plugin in their browsers or an app. Some providers even require companies to change their entire video stack and use a special, non-standard streaming protocol.

Solution 4: Livestream’s peer-to-peer based eCDN

Our eCDN distributes the stream with peer-to-peer networking, harnessing idle internal network bandwidth to more effectively distribute the stream. With Livestream, employees connect to the stream as they would in a typical video streaming setup. However, instead of getting the entire video directly from the server, their video player will also ask for segments of content from nearby co-workers viewing devices. This more efficiently distributes bandwidth requirements within your network, eliminating the risk of bottlenecks to the server, slow connections, and poor video quality.

Benefits of Livestream’s eCDN for Corporate Communications

Livestream’s peer-to-peer eCDN shares video across your intranet, utilizing a fraction of the bandwidth necessary from external servers. This allows you to stream high-quality video without interruption, without impacting your bandwidth or internal network.

Lower network costs
With our cloud-based eCDN, you’re not paying for higher capacity networks or any additional hardware.
Ease of use for employees
Using our eCDN does not require viewers to download additional plugins or software. They can still view your streaming video anywhere you would normally display that content. Additionally, since our eCDN is cloud-based, there is no installation cost or time spent.
Better quality streaming at scale
Viewers across the corporate network will experience better video quality and less buffering from using an eCDN.
7-day US-based support
Livestream Enterprise support experts are just a phone call away, any day of the week.

How eCDN works with your existing Livestream account

Many eCDNs work with desktop plug-ins or costly additional hardware or software. Unlike other peer-based eCDN solutions, Livestream requires no installation on workstations and no changes to your video workflow configuration. We use standard HTTP streaming formats and offer plug-and-play integrations for desktop.

Our technology is based on WebRTC, meaning connections are made directly through the browser and there is no workstation software to install, and no browser extensions or plugins for users to manage.

Livestream’s eCDN can be activated one time by your account manager and then can be toggled on and off within your Livestream dashboard to use as you see fit. There is no work or downloads required by the end user, and no additional hardware to purchase.

How do we set up your eCDN?
• First, we test the webRTC connections inside your network.
• Your account manager enables eCDN on your Livestream account and tests different devices on the same network. If you have multiple sites, we will test each site.
• Finally, Livestream will organize a global test with the company users and a test live video. After this, your eCDN is ready to stream.

Want to learn more? Existing Livestream customers can contact their Account Manager, or visit this page and complete a Custom request form