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Every Startup Needs a Regular “All Hands” Meeting

August 10, 2016

10:00 pm

To some, the concept of an all hands meeting might seem like a waste of time. After all, everyone hates meetings and scheduling a meeting with every single employee at a company, from the CEO to the interns, would result in the most time wasted of them all. All hands meetings aren’t even designed to accomplish a specific task! However, that’s just why they’re useful.

All Hands Meetings Promote Bonding

Getting together will an entire company bonds the group better than one-on-ones with everyone. They can joke, interact, and find out more about each other’s backgrounds, particularly without a pressing matter to address. Whether in person or online, an all hands meeting is “a key bonding and communication opportunity,” according to venture capitalist Albert Wenger in a recent blog post.

Sure, this is a better option for a young startup than an old one: At some point, the sheer size of a business will make the bonding impossible.

Use the Time to Answer (Anonymous) Concerns

And there’s one essential principle that many forget to stick to, Wenger explains: soliciting questions and topics of conversation prior to the meeting.

“For some people that seems obvious but I have seen quite a few situations where founders were counting on employees to ask questions spontaneously. And that won’t happen. Most people do not want to stick their hand up and ask a question in such an open setting. I also just skimmed a couple of articles on how to run all hands meetings online and was surprised to find that many of them did not mention this critical element.”

A sensitive, open environment is essential to a young startup, as any rapid growth in the early years can lead voices not being heard, and the subsequent friction can be deadly.

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.