Town hall meetings serve many important purposes. These events generate a sense of spirit among your employees. They provide company-wide policy updates, keeping everyone involved on the same page. They help to build brands. And most importantly, they give an organization’s employees an opportunity to be heard by those who may not be “in the trenches” with them on a daily basis.
Yet despite all the good things people take away from a great town hall meeting, it’s easy to see why they’re costly, difficult to manage, and at times, very stressful.
In this digital age of information, having the capabilities to host and broadcast virtual company town hall meetings is invaluable. Let’s dive right into the primary benefits of holding virtual town hall meetings – and we’ll also provide best practices for effectively executing them along the way.
1. Geography Is No Longer an Obstacle
Considering the increasingly common virtual workplace, the steady rise in remote or work-from-home employees, and the sheer number of organizations with satellite offices operating across the country (or the globe, for that matter), being able to communicate and engage with your employees via virtual town hall meetings is more critical than ever. No matter where your employees are working, the ability to broadcast company events on a one-to-many scale is going to take your internal communications program to the next level.
Tip: Partner with a content delivery platform provider that can easily handle large-scale events. There are so many webinar and webcasting tools on the market today, but very few of them can accommodate upwards of a couple hundred participants without glitches or crashes. And if that’s the case, these vendors certainly can’t scale with your organization as your events become larger over time or you have an unexpectedly high attendance rate at any given town hall meeting.
2. Significant Cost Savings
Think about the fees associated with hosting a large-scale corporate town hall meeting—venue, security, F&B, parking, airfare... the costs add up. Even if you host such an event on site and you have an annual budget from which to draw funds, some of that budget could be allocated to other communications or business projects. Not only does conducting a virtual version of your CEO town hall allow you to take advantage of digital features and engagement analytics, it’s going to save your employees a ton of time and save your business a ton of money.
Tip: If all parties involved can participate remotely on their preferred device, it’s much more possible to hold regular town hall meetings with little to no disruption. These virtual meeting tips provide a few more ways to keep discussions productive and attendees interested. Efficiency is key!
3. Better Employee Engagement
In our fast-paced world of business, it’s no easy feat keeping every employee engaged and motivated. In fact, Dale Carnegie and MSW conducted a recent study of over 1,500 employees that found 71% of respondents were not fully engaged – and 26% were considered actively disengaged. The primary reasons cited involved a lack of belief in senior management, a poor relationship with the direct manager, and a lack of pride in working for the company. By creating better communication channels with more interaction between the C-Suite and company employees, your organization is much less likely to encounter these problems.
Tip: Give your employees a voice by making use of polls, chat functionality, Q&A and surveys throughout the presentation. This can be conducted by a full-service provider’s moderator, or by someone internally. The point is to talk with team members during the town hall, not to talk at them.
4. Thought Leadership
Riding the technology wave and demonstrating thought leadership go hand in hand. In addition to the numerous other benefits, mastering the art of executing virtual town hall meetings is going to modernize your business communications. It’s also no secret that everyone appreciates convenience and time savings – and as workplace professionals, we look to management to facilitate these processes and make these decisions. That’s not to say we recommend abolishing in-person meetings all together – but crafting a unique and engaging virtual experience for your employees can make a big difference in the way your organization is perceived.
Tip: Speaking of the experience, it’s important to invest in a reliable platform that’s not going to lead you into a nightmare of technical difficulties. Moreover, search for a one-to-many tool that’s fully customizable and allows for additional customization via API Keys. The more branded your presentation, the better!
5. OnDemand Functionality
If you’re webcasting a company event, conference, or live town hall meeting, that’s great! This tip may still apply. But recording a webinar version of your town hall is quick and painless – and the demand for, well, OnDemand has climbed to the point where it’s expected. Building a resource portal or media library for your website (or a password-protected version just for employees) is an excellent way to keep those who weren’t able to make the event in the loop.
Tip: Not only can OnDemand recordings prevent absent employees from missing out on town hall meeting points and announcements, they provide great material for repurposing content on other channels. Pull excerpts, quotes and polling stats for website modules, social media posts, blog articles etc. Even video clips snipped from the town hall meeting can be recycled into powerful promotional pieces.
6. Opportunity to Showcase (and Enhance) Company Culture
As they say, lead by example. To improve the efficacy of your internal communications, encourage company executives to take an active role in the process. Virtual town hall meetings, like all town hall meetings, are a chance for upper management to build a sense of community, trust and fun with their employees.
Tip: Don’t be so scripted. Your town hall isn’t meant to be a press release personified. Personality is key here, so have fun with your new town hall style! Get creative with visuals – and to encourage employee questions, it’s a good idea to have a few planted or prepared in advance to get the ball rolling. Plus, this gives whomever is presenting a chance to warm up!
7. Access to Analytics
Like any other virtual event – whether it be a webinar, online seminar, podcast, etc. – it’s important that you can measure its success, particularly in terms of audience engagement. Yes, you can couple these efforts with changes in employee productivity and retention rates, but ensuring your virtual town hall meetings are effective requires access to real-time and post-event data. With the right software, you can even track participation and verify attendance using a variety of tools.
Tip: Make use of post-event evaluations (this is an element that ideally should be built right into your virtual event platform). Whatever questions you ask is up to you, but be sure to announce that your attendees will be redirected to a survey after the town hall has ended. Offering an additional small incentive for filling it out may also foster a more inviting atmosphere.
Your town hall meetings don’t have to be an enormous expense, nor do they have to be dull and monotonous experience for executives or their employees. If your current town hall style feels like a chore, try conducting them virtually for a change!
Have questions about how BeaconLive helps customers produce effective virtual town hall meetings? Contact our team today – or simply request a complimentary guided tour of our virtual event platform! We’re happy to help.