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Introduction

Best Practices for Hosting Virtual All-Hands Meetings

All-hands meetings provide excellent opportunities for you to share valuable information and updates with your entire organization. Here’s how you can host an interactive rally that will engage and excite your employees.

The hybrid challenge

As companies make the transition to hybrid work, maintaining engagement and fostering connections with remote and in-person employees are top of mind. With this transition, organizations need to adjust to changing dynamics, and that includes how you effectively share information with and engage your hybrid workforce.

According to Gartner research, by 2022:

25% of the global knowledge workforce will choose to work from home as their primary workplace 

45% of the workforce will be working from home two to three days per week

Less than 20% of employees will choose to work from a company location as their primary workplace.

2024, around 30% of all employees now working remotely will permanently work at home.

HR and internal communications professionals should consider:

focusing on communicating important company-wide updates

effectively engaging with their entire globally distributed workforce

employing open communication through company all-hands to help employees feel connected

This guide offers expert tips for hosting company all-hands, to help you create a sense of community across your business and communicate important internal updates with your employees.

Choosing the right technology

Whether you’re looking to build connections or announce the latest company news, choosing the right technology will help you deliver a valuable employee experience.

Zoom Meetings and Zoom Video Webinars each provide features that allow businesses, big and small, to host successful and engaging all-hands. Here are a few considerations to help you choose the best solution:

Meetings vs. Webinars

Zoom Meetings

  • Best for group collaboration and team connection
  • Employees can see each other, use reactions, and ask questions on camera
  • Build culture with icebreakers or other interactive games

Zoom Webinars

  • Best for larger gatherings
  • Executives and presenters can easily communicate information without distractions
  • Limit employee chatter with features like Q&A and in-meeting chat controls

Capacity

How many employees will be attending? If you’re expecting more than 1,000 attendees, go with Zoom Video Webinars, which allows up to 50,000 attendees.

Zoom Meetings

Up to 1,000 interactive participants

Zoom Video Webinars

Up to 50,000 view-only attendees & 100+ interactive panelists

Audience interaction

The type of attendee experience and level of interaction you want for employees will be key to deciding which technology you choose.

Zoom Video Webinars gives hosts greater control over the attendee experience. Attendees do not have the ability to use audio and video or share their screens, which limits the potential for disruptions. Employees will still have the opportunity to engage via the Q&A panel, webinar chat, polls, and post-webinar survey. This makes a webinar a great solution to communicate company-wide updates, host executive panel discussions, and conduct large-scale training sessions.

With Zoom Meetings, attendees have greater flexibility to interact and engage. Not only do employees have access to audio and video, but they can also screen share, whiteboard, and join Breakout Rooms if the host enables these features.

Tips and best practices

It’s important to create an all-hands meeting that makes the most of your employees’ time and entices them to participate. These best practices will help you feel confident hosting professional, impactful all-hands meetings.

Work as a team

There are a lot of moving parts to hosting a virtual event, even an internal one. Delegate tasks to team members and clearly outline their roles and responsibilities so you can work together to create a seamless experience.

Assign roles

For sharing slides

Designate someone who knows the content and talk track well to share slides. This helps eliminate any fumbling that might occur if speakers need to switch screen-sharing during the meeting.

For moderating Q&A and chat

Depending on how many attendees you have, you can have a few people moderating the Q&A and chat. This is a great way for your employees to get questions answered on the fly and keep them engaged throughout the meeting.

For launching polls

Polling, available for both meetings and webinars, is a great way to engage with your audience. Assign a teammate to be responsible for launching polls throughout your event.

Managing attendees

Follow our security best practices to protect your all-hands session. You can also have a teammate oversee the Q&A or chat and look out for potentially inappropriate comments or disruptions.

Host a dry run

Practice makes perfect! Before the event, schedule a dry run with all speakers to test their audio, video, lighting, and internet connections. For your technical team, this is when you should practice sharing slides and videos, launching polls, and anything else you may do during your live event.

Here’s a checklist to help you cover all your bases in your dry run and make sure you’re ready for the big day:

Dry Run Checklist

Your list should include:

Introductions and roles/responsibilities

  • Host will manage all-hands technical questions
  • Presenters/Panelist roles

Quick overview of all-hands features and controls (when using Video Webinars)

  • Managing and responding to Q&A
  • Launching a Poll
  • Participants

Determine who will be sharing content and test out content

  • What content will be shared (i.e. Slides, Video, Desktop, Applications, etc)

Review housekeeping items

  • Who will the host kick things over to after the welcome and housekeeping message
  • Remind panelists to join the live event 15 minutes early
    1. Confirm all-hands meeting start and end time
  • Determine how you are managing Q&A (ie. answering at the end)
  • Chat and Raise Hand will be turned off for attendees unless otherwise specified
  • What (if any) links or messages should be sent to attendees through chat

Confirm everyone has their panelist links for the live event

Other considerations:

  • Hardwire internet to avoid connectivity issues
  • Close programs and windows not in use to avoid notifications popping up or unwanted tabs from showing
  • Create a dedicated Zoom account used only for hosting all-hands so that settings are saved/not changed by other users in the account

Checklist for All-Hands Host

Before All-Hands (1-2 weeks out)

Review all desired account settings are enabled/disabled

Schedule all-hands meetings/webinar

Set up poll questions, if applicable

Crate draft all-hands agenda

Create draft list of panelists

Before All Hands (~1 week out)

Review & finalize content/slides and agenda

Email final agenda to execs & panelists/h3>

Send meeting/webinar invite to all employees

Promote & share agenda across company channels

Host dry-run with all panelists

During All-Hands

Event moderation

Screen sharing

Time tracking

Monitor and respond to Q&A

After All-Hands

Debrief with team on what worked well /didn’t work well

Distribute slides and recording across company channels

Respond to miscellaneous employee outreach

Want to see these features in action?

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Audience engagement and connection

There’s more than one way to host a successful all-hands meeting; it all depends on the structure and needs of your workforce. Here are some tips to help ensure that your all-hands provides the most value for your employees.

Topic variation is key

It’s important to vary the topics during your meeting to keep your audience engaged and interested in the information that is presented. Consider inviting guest speakers to provide opportunities for learning, thought leadership, or just plain fun. Also, sharing videos or music to make every all-hands unique, is a great way to generate excitement.

Promote in-meeting engagement

Pre-event survey

An all-hands meeting is a great time to get your employees involved and excited about working for your organization. Give your employees the opportunity to share what’s important for them to know, and tailor the all-hands agenda by offering a poll or survey prior to the event.

Pro tip
Leverage Zoom Chat to share the information before and after your event. Create buzz even before the event starts and make sure important details aren’t missed!

Live Q&A

The Zoom Video Webinars Q&A feature allows attendees to submit questions for live or written responses during the event. Here are a few tips for using the Q&A feature:

Designate members of your team to manage the Q&A so presenters can focus on speaking. If your Q&A team is not participating in audio or video, you can hide their video feed via the Hide Non-Video Participants feature. 

Have a few thought-provoking questions prepared, in case you don’t receive enough high-quality attendee questions to fill the allotted time for Q&A.

You can adjust Q&A settings to allow or disable anonymous questions, or change whether attendees can view, comment, or upvote questions.

Review the Q&A report after your webinar and follow up with attendees whose questions weren’t answered in the session.

Breakout Rooms

Available with Zoom Meetings, Breakout Rooms allow your employees to meet in smaller groups. Assign attendees to Breakout Rooms prior to or during the session. You can allow participants to select which room they want to join or allow them to move freely among rooms.

Surveys for feedback

Give your employees a chance to provide feedback after your event, to measure what employees thought went well, what still needs improvement, and what they’d like to see at future all-hands events. With Zoom Video Webinars, you can use the post-webinar survey to launch a survey right after your event.

Want to learn more

Contact our sales team to discover more tips for hosting your all-hands like a pro