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 with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe