Maximize employee engagement with company town hall meetings
Blinds.com hosts company town hall meetings to take the pulse of hundreds of employees at once
Challenge: Gather instant feedback from every employee to foster a culture of transparency
Solution: Host regular company town hall meetings, using polling to field questions
Summary: Regular townhalls give each employee direct access to management and the C-suite, creating a more engaged workforce
Blinds.com works hard to foster a unique company culture, and they're proud of what they've built.
That culture reveals itself the moment a new employee comes on board. During a weekly company town hall meeting, new hires go through the Blinds.com initiation. Each new employee presents a PowerPoint, video, or song that introduces the employee to the company, and does so in a way that boldly says, "I'm one of you now."
One new payroll manager rewrote the lyrics to a pop song using payroll lingo. Another created a video of himself as Batman, and one wrote and starred in a Dunder-Mifflin parody based on NBC's "The Office." A particularly brave soul covered a Katy Perry song in falsetto.
How do you make every last employee feel heard in a company of hundreds?
The welcoming atmosphere contributes to a culture of transparency, where fun is key to sparking creative solutions. It also makes employees feel comfortable enough to speak up about issues that matter to them.
But culture alone doesn’t make it easy to collect and filter the questions or concerns of 376 employees, so Blinds.com uses Poll Everywhere Q&As in their company town hall meetings to do just that.
Each town hall is rebranded to fit the event. For example, CEO Jay Steinfeld himself hosts an "Say Jay" town hall, to give employees direct access to their CEO. Those meetings are a huge hit.
Host regular company town hall meetings so employees can address the CEO directly
For the Say Jay event, roughly one-third of the company (about 160 people) gets together in a conference room, and everyone else joins via livestream. The Q&A polls are set up beforehand, and the company promotes the event through their digital signage prior to the event, encouraging employees to bring their phones and be ready to vote.
Most do, but for those who don't — or those who simply want to ensure their anonymity — Jay sets up kiosks throughout the room that employees can use to enter their questions. As everyone rolls in, the poll is already open and onscreen.
Because they’re using the Q&A feature, employees can vote on which questions should be answered, allowing the most important and widespread concerns to rise to the top. When something gets enough upvotes, Jay addresses the topic.
They also love that it works the other way around. “I love that all the dumb questions get downvoted,” Brad said.
Making transparency an organizational habit
Once AMAs are complete, Jay (or the department head running the town hall) simply clears all the answered questions, filing the Q&A away so it’s waiting to be activated for a fresh round at the next meeting.
The same setup is used throughout the company on a departmental level (so Marketing hosts an “Ask Marketing Anything,” and Sales hosts “Ask Sales Anything”), giving the entire company a fun, fast way to keep employees in sync with management, and management in sync with C-levels, in a virtuous cycle of feedback and transparency.
How can you do this?
Set up a Q&A before the meeting, but don't activate it just yet. Optional: Customize the visualization settings to match your company’s brand.
Tell employees to bring their phones to the meeting. If desired, set up kiosks throughout the room using laptops or iPads. On each device, open a web browser and navigate to your Poll Everywhere response page.
When the meeting starts, activate the poll.
For each subsequent meeting, clear the responses so you can reuse the same poll — no need to create a new one each time.
To keep a record of participation (for reporting purposes) but still keep responses anonymous, turn on anonymity.