All-hands meetings are a smart way to quickly share information with all of the people and departments in your business. But these meetings have a lot of attendees, which means they can quickly run off the rails without a solid plan in place.
Whether you have five people in the meeting or 500, it’s best to create a game plan to run the most productive all-hands meeting possible.
Use this step-by-step guide to plan meaningful and engaging all-hands meetings for your team, plus get some free templates to maximize your efforts. Let’s go! 🙌
- What’s an All-Hands Meeting?
- Benefits of Having an All-Hands Meeting for Your Team
- How to Plan & Conduct Engaging All-Hands Meetings
What’s an All-Hands Meeting?
An all-hands meeting is a virtual or in-person gathering that includes all employees and leaders in your business. From the C-suite to the junior worker bees, this meeting includes just about everyone in your org chart.
All-hands meetings differ from regular team meetings because they include multiple departments and stakeholders. The sheer number of attendees is also a big difference. Instead of a few attendees, you’re managing dozens and dozens of people in a single meeting.
As the meeting planner, you’ll take more of a moderator role to:
- Invite all relevant attendees
- Create the all-hands meeting agenda
- Keep the meeting moving
Your business might hold all-hands meetings on a regular basis, like Google’s town hall meetings, or hold them as needed when something big or exciting happens.
More often than not, businesses use all-hands meetings to build company culture, share exciting news, or unite the entire company. The goal is not to just share information but to get your team pumped. 🏋️
Benefits of Having an All-Hands Meeting for Your Team
Planning an all-hands meeting is no small feat. You’re juggling multiple calendar invites and questions from a lot of attendees. The C-suite will also be there, so you know, no pressure. 👀
Planning an all-hands meeting requires some work upfront, but all of your hard work will pay off. These types of meetings benefit everything from your corporate culture to the quality of your projects.
Strengthen company culture
Effective all-hands meetings give your team more opportunities to connect with each other in a positive way outside of their normal work responsibilities. These extra cross-team connections foster a sense of community that’s essential to culture-building. 🌻
Instead of pitting the accounting team against the marketing team, everyone simply exists under the same banner of your business. You can even throw in a few team-building exercises to help employees make friends with other teams. Isn’t that nice?
Plus, all-hands meetings orient new hires to the way you do things. If you recently hired a handful of junior workers, all-hands meetings are a quick way to bring new folks into your company culture.
Boost team morale
How often do you see all of your coworkers in one place? Whether you work in person or on a remote team, gathering the entire gang is probably a rare occurrence.
Having everyone together gives you a chance to brag about your employees’ achievements, which works wonders for team morale. When planning all-hands meetings, make it a point to celebrate:
- Work milestones
- People who go above and beyond
Company-wide recognition and kudos go a long way toward increasing company morale when employees gather together with their team members. In fact, a recent survey from Bonusly, an employee rewards platform, found that nearly half of respondents left a job where they didn’t feel appreciated. Just make sure you’re spreading out the praise evenly so everyone gets their time in the limelight. 🤩
Solve big problems
Despite its best efforts, your business likely has silos between departments. But you know how the saying goes: two heads are better than one. If one department is spinning its wheels about an issue, it might find the answer from another department.
Regular staff meetings with the entire organization connect people who usually don’t work together. Marketing might not understand how to get the website to do what they want it to do, but a quick conversation with the folks in IT could clear up the issue in seconds. ⚒️
Bringing people together is a good thing, especially when they all have different experience and talents. If possible, design all-hands meetings that encourage folks from different departments to interact with each other. You never know where their spontaneous conversations will lead.
Use Clickup’s Communication Matrix Report Template to gain a comprehensive overview of which teams are connected and working together—so you can maximize every collaboration.
Gain project buy-in
All-hands meetings give your team warm, fuzzy feelings, but they have a work-related purpose too. Buy-in is an essential ingredient for project management, so if you’re trying to sell your team (and your boss) on a new initiative, this is the time to earn every team members’ buy-in.
If you’ve decided on a bold new direction, all-hands meetings are the time to share reasons for the change, why it’s a good thing, and what employees should expect going forward.
The goal is to assuage your team’s fears while boosting alignment on your company goals in effective town hall meetings. ✨
Support open communication and collaboration
Nothing happens in a vacuum at a business. You need to foster team collaboration not just in your department, but across the entire business. Open communication is the best way to build trust and encourage your employees to open up more.
Use this as a chance to candidly share:
- Business updates
- Team updates
- Company news
When you’re open and honest with your people, they’ll be open and honest with you in return. Instead of siloing information in one department, or between managers only, all-hands meetings share information with the entire company in a forum that encourages transparency.
How to Plan & Conduct Engaging All-Hands Meetings
All-hands meetings are a magical opportunity for transparency and connection, but attendees will quickly descend into boredom if the meeting isn’t engaging enough. Follow these steps to plan an all-hands meeting that’s equal parts fun and informative. 🤩
1. Create a communication plan
Before you do anything, check your communication plan. This goes beyond your communication goals for a single all-hands meeting.
A communication plan is your strategy for building a rock-solid corporate culture through effective communication. It might sound like an extra step, but designing an internal communication plan narrows your focus and gives you some much-needed pointers on how to interact with your team.
It also will encourage employees to speak up and share important information.
Your communication plan should include objectives and key results (OKRs). Work backward from these goals to design more thoughtful company-wide meetings.
For example, if your goal is to improve employee engagement by 10% before Q4, you need to plan an engaging all-hands meeting that people don’t just passively watch.
Instead of presenting bland, talking head-style all-hands meetings, you might include team scavenger hunts, a balloon drop, or a Zoom visit from a llama dressed in silly hats. 🎈
By understanding your goals first, you’ll design all-hands meetings that work with your business’s communication plan instead of against it.
2. Decide on the meeting format
Remember, this is a different type of meeting. All-hands meetings aren’t the same as one-on-one meetings: there are a lot of people on this call, so you need to make the most of every second.
Before inviting everyone to the call, lay out the meeting in a way that makes information easy to consume. That might mean:
- Starting with icebreakers or fun trivia with your team members to set a positive tone at the start of the meeting
- Sharing company-wide updates in a town hall-style, which allows your leadership team to share quick updates to get everyone on the same page
- Incorporating “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) sessions with senior leadership and opening the floor to employees
- Conducting Q&As in real-time
If you’re in a hybrid organization, think about how to give remote workers as equitable an experience as possible to better your company culture as an inclusive one. For example, if in-person attendees get fun company swag, ship the swag to remote attendees ahead of time so they aren’t left out.
3. Gather input
The whole team will be on this call, so it’s always a good idea to gather input from others before creating an agenda. You might think the team wants to focus on fun things like work anniversaries or shout-outs, but maybe they actually want to have a heart-to-heart with the CEO instead.
Take time to collect questions for Q&A sessions or town hall meetings, create out-of-the-box icebreaker questions, and gather all-hands meeting ideas from your team.
Instead of asking everyone to reply to an email thread with meeting ideas, create a survey and send it to the entire company. For example, you can customize ClickUp’s Employee Feedback Form Template to keep track of ideas.
Not every idea will be a winner, but you’ll definitely find new, interesting ideas by spitballing with other teams—especially when trying to discuss company matters.
4. Create an effective agenda
As much fun as all-hands meetings can be, they still need structure. Otherwise, you risk veering off-topic and spending precious company time on less important topics.
This is a chance to update everyone on how the company is performing overall, so design a focused, engaging agenda. Depending on your business, a few best practices to follow would be to allocate time for:
- New hire introductions to all team members
- CEO remarks and company updates on key projects
- Short updates from each department and how it fits into the company’s mission
- Employee recognition for a healthy company culture of team appreciation
- Open Q&A for team members to discuss company updates with the C-suite
In your agenda, note how much time you plan to spend on each speaker or topic. If your company is notorious for going over time (which is pretty common), assign someone to be the timekeeper.
They keep the meeting moving so there’s enough time to touch on every topic. ⏳
Of course, if you always run out of time in your all-hands meetings, you either need to lengthen the meeting or cut something out of the agenda for the next time.
5. Use ClickUp’s meeting agenda template
Not sure what to include in your all-hands meeting agenda? We’ve got you covered. It’s easy to craft an effective agenda with the help of a template.
ClickUp’s Leadership Meeting Agenda template includes sections for:
- Highlighting achievements
- Reviewing metrics
- Setting future milestones
- Staff updates
It even comes with ready-made formatting and eye-catching graphics. That way, you’ll spend less time on document formatting and focus your energy on the meat and potatoes of the meeting.
6. Schedule the all-hands meeting
Agenda in hand, it’s time to invite everyone to your all-hands meeting.
For national or multinational teams, consider time zones before scheduling a meeting. Your employees in China probably don’t want to take a call at 11 p.m., so try to find a time that works for the majority of the company.
Scheduling an all-hands meeting is no small feat, though, so if you need help planning the event and sharing the agenda, use ClickUp’s All Hands Meeting template to speed things up.
You’re probably going to have action items before, during, and after an all-hands meeting too. Tools like ClickUp enhance the all-hands meeting process from planning to execution.
Use ClickUp Tasks to remind yourself to:
- Schedule meetings with the team
- Assign to-dos after the meeting
- Conduct post-meeting follow-ups
Use ClickUp to convert meeting agendas into actionable tasks with just a click and tag anyone in your organization for easier cross-department collaboration.
7. Follow up after the meeting
Don’t let your all-hands meeting die after the event ends. Following up is just as important as scheduling the meeting. This closes the loop and holds your team accountable for action items.
After your meeting, you might need to:
- Share meeting notes and takeaways with the team
- Assign follow-up action items to certain departments or team members
- Check with team leaders to request feedback about the meeting
While you’re probably hoping for glowing feedback about your meeting, it’s important to act on constructive criticism. That’s the only way to ensure your future meetings are more engaging and effective. 🏆
Plan Better Company-Wide Meetings in Less Time
All-hands meetings offer a rare chance for everyone to gather at the same time and place. But the sheer number of attendees makes the planning process seem daunting.
Fortunately, with the right approach, you’ll plan a rockstar all-hands meeting that your team genuinely looks forward to.
Anyone can schedule a meeting, and use a tool to track meeting minutes, but it takes a true pro to plan an outstanding all-hands meeting. Speed up the planning process and leave no stone unturned with the right system.
ClickUp provides all-hands meeting agenda templates, ready-made workflows, tasks, and other tools to simplify your workday.
Better meetings are just a click away. Sign up for ClickUp now—no credit card required!