Alix Renaut
 in  Meetings
5 minutes

How to Plan an All-Hands Meeting Effectively


As a business grows, keeping everyone on the same page can be challenging. Departments, teams, and individuals often become engrossed in their individual tasks, which can result in losing track of the company’s overarching objectives—a challenge the “All-Hands Meeting” aims to address.

Imagine if everyone from different corners of your company, no matter their role, could come together regularly. That’s what an all-hands meeting does. It’s a special time when people from all levels and departments meet to share updates, tackle challenges, and stay connected with the overall goals of the company.

Some might think gathering everyone at once could be too crowded or confusing. But, in reality, these meetings can spark great ideas and keep everyone excited about working together. Let’s break down how to make the most out of this meeting.

Before the meeting 

Preparation is key to ensure the success of your all-hands meetings. Follow these crucial steps to make sure you will not be missing anything during the meeting.

1. Pick a frequency

Consistency is key. By picking a frequency, all-hand meetings become part of everyone’s routine. It makes people aware of when to expect the next one, and everyone can adapt their agenda accordingly.

To ensure that everyone is up to date with the latest news, it is recommended that all-hand meetings be held once a week or every two weeks.

2. Set the meeting agenda

Agendas are essential tools for maximizing meeting productivity. They keep discussions focused, ensure timely coverage of all topics, enable participant preparation, foster attendee engagement, and provide a documented plan for follow-up actions.

An effective meeting agenda is well-structured, clear, and always shared in advance. It should have a specific goal, clear objectives, key topics, and time durations to ensure a productive and focused meeting.

If you’re looking to create an effective meeting agenda, we already have an article detailing all the necessary steps!

Beekast’s board activity is perfect for this. For example, ask: “For Monday’s all hands, are there any topics you’d particularly like to talk about or present?” To stay organized, create a category for each department.

During the meeting

Without organization, all-hands meetings are bound to be a waste of time. Here is some advice on how to handle things during the meeting.

1. Start with an icebreaker

Start off your meeting with light-hearted icebreakers or trivia to gauge the mood and create a welcoming atmosphere.  It’s a great way to get everyone engaged and feeling comfortable right from the start.

Beekast’s Emoji Gauge template is great to sound out the group’s general state of mind before getting started. Each participant expresses their mood by choosing a corresponding emoji. You can see if the state of mind of the group is mostly negative, and quickly identify the source of the problem.

Don’t forget to allocate a slot for management announcements. There, HR and top management can share critical updates, including introductions of new hires and remarks from the CEO on pivotal projects.

Finally, you should take the time to highlight notable accomplishments across the company, big or small. Use Beekast’s Canvas activity to celebrate and acknowledge team members, reinforcing a culture of appreciation.

2. Let others speak

Include a town hall-style segment in the meeting agenda where department leads can share updates in a structured format. This ensures that all attendees are aligned with the latest developments across different areas of the company.

3. Organize AMA sessions

Incorporate an “Ask Me Anything” segment with senior leadership to promote open communication and address employee queries. AMA sessions are a great way to foster transparency and trust within your organization.

Always end your meeting by making sure that all attendees have had their questions answered and concerns addressed.

After the meeting

After the all-hands meeting concludes, there are still some key steps you shouldn’t forget. By following them, you’ll already begin preparing for the next one.

1. Ask for feedback

Feedback after your meeting is crucial for several reasons.

First, it helps assess the meeting’s effectiveness, highlighting what worked well and what could be improved for future sessions. It also provides valuable insights into participants’ perspectives, allowing for better understanding of their needs and concerns.

Beekast has several great activities and templates to gather feedback quickly and efficiently. One of them is the Plus & Delta template, in which participants are met with two categories :

  • Plus: what had value and how can this be carried over to the future?
  • Delta: what can the team change or add to increase usefulness? How can the team do better?

The questions of this activity foster improvement, as participants are encouraged to use ‘improvement’ language rather than language considered too negative by some.

2. Share a meeting summary

Once the meeting is done, there is still one last thing you must do: share the Meeting Summary. It is a report that summarizes the all-hands meeting to all employees, ensuring that everyone is on the same page, especially those who couldn’t join the meeting in person. It is also useful for employees who wish to review the content discussed in the previous meeting before the next one.

To help you be more effective and productive, Beekast has designed a feature that allows you to generate meeting notes in a Word document, as well as export results in an Excel spreadsheet. By generating these reports in just one click you can then quickly identify areas for improvement and optimize your presentations for better outcomes.

3. Follow up

Turning meeting resolutions into actionable plans is key for progress. Define tasks, assign responsibilities, and set deadlines to ensure accountability and keep everyone focused on achieving results. By translating decisions into tangible actions, teams can effectively move projects forward and achieve their goals.

The IDA framework (Information–Decision–Action) is perfect for follow-ups, as it helps all project stakeholders monitor the action items created and the decisions made during a meeting.

It is usually formatted as a table and lists the following:

  • Information: a factual element shared with the entire team that forms the starting point for reflections
  • Decision: the decisions taken to move the project along
  • Action: the tasks to be completed to arrive at the result

With Beekast, use the Actions/Decisions feature for your follow-ups.You can record your decisions and actions with a single click in the Beekast discussion thread and assign them to your team members.

Conclusion: The Value of All-Hands Meetings

All-hands meetings synchronize the entire workforce, ensuring everyone is informed and aligned with company news and achievements. They also provide a unique platform for employees at all levels to engage with leadership, and contribute to a vibrant company culture by blending business with enjoyable activities, boosting overall morale and fostering team connections.

One of the most important steps of all-hands meetings is to track metrics regularly to gauge their effectiveness. Discuss key performance indicators and metrics to visualize progress and areas requiring attention. Don’t do this each and every time but perhaps every quarter or every month depending on the frequency of your all hands meetings. 

All-hands meetings FAQs

Find answers to common questions about planning all-hands meetings.

1. What is an all-hands meeting?

An all-hands meeting is a meeting that brings together all employees of the company, to share updates, tackle challenges, and stay connected with the overall goals of the company.

2. What are the benefits of all-hands meetings?

All-hands meetings ensure everyone is informed and aligned with company news and achievements, provide a unique platform for employees to engage with leadership, and contribute to a vibrant company culture.