Designing, coordinating, and executing employee town halls can be a daunting task. Managing executives’ schedules, developing engaging content, setting up the logistics of on-site or virtual meetings – all of these puzzle pieces are critical for a successful employee meeting.
How do you maximize the return on investment of your time and energy (and blood, sweat, and tears in some instances)? Here are five tips that will take your employee town halls to the next level.
1. Give yourself some breathing room by recording your meeting in advance
The following tips piggyback off of this first guideline. By letting go of the live aspect of your meeting, you will open your world up to increased understanding and higher attendance and engagement. Plus, you can focus on creating solid content for your audience and a seamless filming experience for your executives. Win-win!
2. Create an expectation of accountability for people leaders
If (when!) you set lofty attendance goals, you’re going to have to hold your leaders accountable for ensuring their teams view the meeting.
3. Facilitate the meetings on a site- or department-level to reach your people
For a global manufacturing company, have the site’s plant or general manager hold in-person viewing sessions for each shift. If you’re a tech company with many teams working remotely, have department heads hold viewings. Most town hall meeting content is designed to be high-level and relevant to all audiences, which might miss the most important question when it comes to engagement: What’s in it for me? Your local and departmental leaders can bring the high-level information down from the clouds and connect it to what’s important to their specific teams.
4. Make it easy on the facilitators
This is an important – but big – ask of your leaders. Enable them to be successful by providing clear instructions on when and how to conduct a viewing. Remember to provide talking points that will help the leader make the content real and relevant to their teams, as well as answer team members’ questions afterward.
5. Be respectful of your diverse audiences
If you are part of a global company, it’s likely that you have multiple languages spoken across your business. Employees at these locations are important to your success, so treat them that way! Translate and subtitle your town hall meetings to ensure that all employees have the opportunity for a meaningful experience and understand the company like their English-speaking counterparts.
Our Vice President of Communications Strategy and Development, Michelle Foster, took a global company’s virtual town hall attendance from 7 percent to more than 80 percent by following these tips. If you’re struggling to gain traction and engagement with your employee meetings, send us a note! We’d love to help.
Learn more on the full Ragan article - Global firm bridges distance and languages to reach 80% of staff
Audience snapshot from an employee town hall filmed in Elizabeth, NJ.