Whether your employees telecommute occasionally or permanently, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this…
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This practice is reflective of how our society has evolved over time. Rather than sending messages down the rankings, business communication should be frequent and open, and not only flow top-down, but bottom-up as well. Achieving this can be challenging, but if done properly, it can be met with great benefits and success. Here are some common traits of successful all-hands meetings.
- The CEO Really Cares
In order for transparency and bottom-up communication to be successful, you need a CEO who truly cares and sees this as a priority, rather than a CEO trying to simply make it appear so. Inauthentic efforts are obvious and may have a negative impact your employees.
CEOs that truly care put in the energy and effort to keep their teams in the know on what’s important and what they should care about. Enthusiasm for the common end goal comes across as genuine and makes employees feel valued, spurring their motivation.
The true willingness to foster open communication will show itself when the tough questions surface. They will exist whether they are addressed or not, so in order to gain the best insight from your team, CEOs should find ways to address all topics.
- They Are Well Executed
A big, important event should be treated as one, and within companies who truly value all-hands meetings, this is exactly what is done. These companies have stadium-sized conference rooms with the best remote connectivity software for remote workers. They put lots of thought and care to the content being presented, with proper preparation for a near-flawless execution. There is no way that these meetings will seem like they were put together last minute, because, honestly, these meetings were planned well in advance.
- Their Frequency Is Predictable
It is important to address employees often, whether it is annually, quarterly, monthly or weekly. However, it seems that companies in which CEOs address employees on a weekly or bi-weekly basis emphasize the importance of all-hands meetings and tend to have the most success. Rather than feeling like a hierarchy, these work environments foster a more cohesive team atmosphere.
- They Are Not Contrived
When meetings are infrequent, they tend seem insincere and forced. Employees take notice when companies make the effort to demonstrate that they are important enough to communicate with directly.
In the same vein, opening the floor to employees can be scary for some. Some companies may filter questions, only allowing the ones in which they feel competent enough to address. Doing this, using a script, or all together avoiding Q&A can end up hurting the business. It may seem like a safe bet, but there’s no way around openly listening to the team if that’s the message you would like to relay.
- Anyone Can Speak Up
Bottom line, everyone should be able to direct a question. However, this doesn’t mean that employees should be forced to raise their hands and participate, as some may have a significant fear of public speaking. With that said, every question, good or bad, should be welcome, from the most extroverted and risk-tolerant employees to the soft-spoken ones.
The use of a tool to gather and curate questions (anonymous or not) during the days or weeks leading up to the meeting could help generate more success. That way, the entire team may vote on which topics are the most important and the top-voted questions may be addressed in order of popularity.
On the surface, these meetings are expensive, time-consuming, and can be disruptive to work. However, these meetings are also necessary and vital in keeping your team well-informed, focused and engaged. They also give your executive team great insight into every level of your organization without rankings getting in the way.
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Tags: All-Hands meetings, Communicate directly, keeping your team well-informed, Open communication