Town hall meetings are the best way to connect with associates
Townhall meetings are today an integral part of internal communication in all corporations – especially whose workforce is distributed by geographies and functions across.
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Town hall meetings, referred to as town halls or town hall forums, are a way for local and global organization leaders to meet with their associates, either to hear from them on topics of interest or to discuss specific upcoming business direction.
Town halls are conducted usually at a timing that is convenient for associates from across geographies and time zones to gather simultaneously and either be addressed or interact with various leaders. Meetings may be held once a month or bi-quarterly or quarterly.
Town halls in corporates today have evolved to include :
- Welcoming new joiners in the organization across geographies and functions.
- Updates on business progress from target versus actual and how well are we doing and why
- If the progress would have been in the negative, the business leaders would also highlight the why and call out corrective measures and directions around that
- Business progress information is presented in a structured form covering all aspects of the business functions including product lines, geographies and other forms of business segmentation.
- Survey analysis and action plans thereof in line with business progress.
- Recognition of associates, managers and teams that impacted the business positively and also showed alignment to the values of the organization.
- A Question and Answer (Q & A) session where a diversity of questions from associates in various geographies and functions are answered by the respective business leaders.
Town halls have multiple benefits and are one of the best practices of competitive organizations :
- They create transparency on the direction of the company and the corporations overall global performance and factors – internal or external impacting the performance.
- For new joiners it is a great motivation to meet and hear the leaders in the business and how the leaders communicate the key priorities of the organization.
- Townhalls also help in internal branding where by leaders are able to reinforce the employee value proposition (EVP)
- Increases the context for every associate to relate their individual contribution to the business outcomes and increase alignment thereof
- The Q & A session opens up as a platform for the management to sense the pulse of the associates on the their concerns and work out a plan of action thereof.
- Sharing internal survey results also results in clearing a lot of misunderstanding of the business drivers and associates tend to get a bigger picture and many a times helps in resetting expectations between them and their manager and Leaders.
- Gives associates the access to various resources that are there within the corporation to do their jobs better – whether development kits or reference material, etc.
Follow up activities post a Town Hall would include
- Disbursing recognitions made during the Town Hall
- Taking action against survey findings and from the Q & A sessions.
- Share the presentation deck for a recap by the associates. Post pictures and video and encourage others to share widely within the corporation.
- It is always a good practice to leave space for questions not asked during the formal Q&A session as there is only a limited window of time and sometimes participants may be hesitant to ask questions during the session.
- Update the larger audience on some of the follow through actions taken from the last Town Hall meeting in a week or two post the meeting. People need to know that you really listened and are responding.
- A video recording of the event can be hosted in the form of a webinar to recall.
7.Use a follow-up survey to understand how effectively employees understood the key messages in the town hall and to gather input for improving the next event - this can also be a follow up activity by the managers in their own team meetings and increases their understanding by the recall by peers in the group.