Depending on the size of your company, an all-hands meeting can cost tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars.
It is worth every penny.
From boosting productivity and streamlining processes, the investment in an all-hands meeting pays off. It also is a critical element in establishing your corporate culture, a key element to a company's success.
In fact, all-hands meetings create a virtuous cycle: Developing an exciting and enduring corporate culture is critical, because it allows you to build an enthusiastic team, which increases customer loyalty and makes for a profitable business.
Here are five benefits your business can realize by investing in regular company all-hands meetings:
Build and reinforce company culture. Getting everybody in your company in the same room in the same town for two or three days on a regular basis is an unbeatable opportunity to demonstrate your company culture. An all-hands meeting is especially effective for getting new people indoctrinated into your company philosophy and the way you do things. There's no underestimating the value of having veteran employees showing new employees the way it's done face to face.
Overcome the fragmented nature of virtual companies. Today, many companies have offices across the country, if not across the world. They also have virtual workers with home offices, and these workers may not see fellow employees for months at a time. A face-to-face all-hands meeting creates a feeling of togetherness in your employees that simply cannot be created via Skype or a Webinar.
Establish a collaborative team environment. An all-hands meeting should be a mixture of work and play -- with perhaps a company-wide charity project or other "bonding event" thrown in for good measure. Combining conference room content with casual evening events creates an atmosphere for effective learning and team building.
All-hands events also break down walls between departments, eliminate bureaucratic inefficiencies and make the entire company more productive. Instead of going through organizational "channels," employees who have spent time together at an all-hands meeting have more avenues to solve backlogs and bottlenecks by communicating directly with each other rather than running around in circles.
Unify around company strategies and goals. An all-hands meeting is the perfect venue for communicating critical results as well as your company's overall strategy and key tactics for the coming quarters. It gives each department the opportunity to present how it will play a crucial role in reaching the company's objectives. Not only is that important for each department to more fully grasp what its goals are, it is also invaluable because everyone gains a deeper understanding of where they fit and how much interdependence is required to achieve the overall corporate goals.
Have fun. Most rapidly-growing young companies have the "work hard" part of the mix down pretty well. To keep things in balance, you have to make sure you have a health dose of "play hard" as well. All-hands meetings are a great opportunity to dial up the fun.
Be thoughtful about how you approach planning for an all-hands meeting. Invest the time in advance to ensure that you deliver value for everyone who attends -- if you try to just slap something together, you will end up communicating the wrong message. Be sincere, be focused, be passionate and for goodness sake, don't be afraid to even be a little silly.
Bryan Burdick is co-founder and COO of Bizo, a marketing technology company, where he heads up all revenue and partnership activities. Bryan is the former president of ZoomInfo, and has held senior management roles at Monster, Lycos, Go2Net and Reality Online, a Reuters company. Bryan is a Diet Coke and hockey fanatic, and if he's not playing hockey, he's coaching hockey, watching hockey or talking about hockey.