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.