This post originally appeared on the Social hour blog.
How teams work together continues to evolve as we enter another year of the pandemic, and so should the way that they come together as a company.
While the pandemic may have been the impetus for brand leaders to transform traditionally in-person, high-profile meetings like the annual company kickoff and sales kickoff into virtual events, the benefits are clear. In addition to keeping everyone safe and usually costing a fraction of the cost of their in-person counterparts, virtual meetings allow everyone in the company to join in one space.
A virtual company all-hands can drastically improve the meeting experience for your team and more effectively fulfill the meeting’s goals. Still not convinced? Let’s examine three benefits of virtual company all-hands meetings and why they are the best option for your team.
Three Advantages of a Virtual Company All-Hands
A virtual-first meeting strategy provides your team with the necessary flexibility to conduct their work. Given the continued uncertainties around in-person work, it simply makes sense to opt for a safer meeting option—and there are clear benefits of holding a virtual company all-hands.
These are some of the ways that virtual all-hands meetings improve on the traditional in-person experience:
A Mix of Pre-Recorded and Live Sessions Provides Flexibility
A virtual company all-hands can more readily blend pre-recorded and live sessions. This helps your team better manage the timing and delivery of your meeting elements.
Luckily, you don’t need significant resources to produce and edit your all-hands videos (unless your team is skilled in video production and can dedicate the resources). A great video can be filmed with just a smartphone or webcam as long as you stay authentic with your message.
A less-obvious benefit of pre-recorded content is that you can add captions to maximize your team’s ability to consume the content. This is especially useful if you have a global team that will need video translations.
Additionally, you can share recorded sessions with your team after the all-hands so they can revisit key points. Select videos can also become part of your new hire onboarding process throughout the year, making them a valuable asset to create.
Breakout Rooms Enable Engagement
The biggest limitation of an in-person all-hands is space. Great all-hands meetings offer a mix of large and small-group activities, presentations, and breakout sessions. Unfortunately, you rarely have the budget to rent out a venue that combines a central auditorium and enough smaller rooms to give everyone in the organization a space to connect. A virtual meeting platform, on the other hand, is optimal for creating this space.
Breakout rooms are also perfect for networking after your meeting has finished. We recommend you create spaces with leaders from key areas like HR and department heads to answer team questions and expand on the meeting content. If you have employee resource groups and committees, make spaces available for them to come together and discuss how they can put the content they’ve consumed throughout the meeting into action.
Built-In Virtual Meeting Features Maximize Meeting Success
A well-built virtual meeting platform will significantly enhance the attendee experience. With the right features, you can directly address many of the shortcomings of an in-person meeting. At a minimum, we recommend you find a solution that offers these features:
- Mute attendees when needed. Side conversations and background noise can distract meeting attendees. An ideal virtual all-hands platform will enable you to control who can speak so that only the presenter has the stage.
- Engagement is the primary concern during all-hands meetings. You want your team to contribute actively. Non-verbal reactions like thumbs-up or applause can encourage speakers. In-platform messaging helps attendees submit questions or comments without needing to take the entire team’s attention.
- Live surveys. Polling your team is easier than ever during a virtual all-hands meeting. Use live polls and quizzes throughout your all-hands to engage your team in the content and gather insights to help you support everyone’s experience.
The Future of Company Meetings is Virtual
No matter what your hybrid work arrangement will look like, it makes sense to design all your meetings for a virtual-first environment. That way, everyone in the organization can participate regardless of their global location or comfort level with large in-person gatherings.
The key to hosting an engaging online town hall is to pick a meeting platform that puts your attendees at the heart of the experience. Find out why hundreds of organizations have trusted Social hour to create engaging virtual event experiences, and start planning your online all-hands today.