How many staffs would an all-staff staff if an all-staff could all staff
February 27, 2018 2:33 PM   Subscribe

What are the duration, frequency, and agenda of all-hands/all-staff meetings at your workplace?

I'm curious if my workplace has unusually frequent all-hands meetings. Please tell me about all-hands meeting norms at your workplace.

I'll start! I work at a health research non-profit with about 100 employees. All-hands meetings are monthly, 1 - 1.5 hours in length, and include very brief introductions of new hires, updates on initiatives and such from different groups, a presentation/monologue by the director, and some sort of scientific presentation appropriate for a cross-functional group. It's usually in the morning and there are donuts and coffee to encourage attendance.
posted by esoterrica to Work & Money (44 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I work for a small company of 35 people. We have monthly all-hands that lasts 1 hour.
posted by askmehow at 2:37 PM on February 27, 2018

Ours are about once a quarter too, 1 hour, with about the same topics you mention. Except the intro of new hires happens during our monthly birthday/anniversary thing (which has cake to encourage attendance).
posted by radioamy at 2:38 PM on February 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

I work for a very very small company (<10) and we have an all-staff meeting weekly. It's about 10 minutes and is just a quick check-in so we know what everyone is up to. We have all-hands (owner as well) meetings twice per year and they last around 2 hours and go over a summary of the general business issues.
posted by freezer cake at 2:40 PM on February 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

Unit of about twenty people, every other week (though postponed with some frequency), for strictly one hour, to go over recent developments in our work and the related law.
posted by praemunire at 2:42 PM on February 27, 2018

I work at a 120ish person company. We have all-hands 2-3 times a month, and the agenda is fairly similar to your company's. I worked at a very very large company (like major multinational) for whom I never attended an all-hands, though our (250ish person?) division had all hands roughly quarterly. Every other company I worked for had all hands more weeks than not.
posted by brainmouse at 2:46 PM on February 27, 2018

We do monthly and 1 hour, and it's required attendance, but there is usually good food (breakfast tacos, catered lunch).
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:53 PM on February 27, 2018

We have about 150 staff and meet once per quarter. Our "division" of 25 members meets weekly, however.
posted by singinginmychains at 2:54 PM on February 27, 2018

We have quarterly all-hands for our group of about 90. They last about an hour, and involve awards, new hires, updates on new rules, and big-picture reporting on work accomplishments and office morale. I don't think more frequently than quarterly would be useful.
posted by suelac at 2:56 PM on February 27, 2018

I work for a large hotel on a seasonal island. We meet as a staff (F and B dept) a few times a year, more frequently if something bad has happened. We meet as a whole staff- F and B, housekeeping, engineering, reservations, etc, never in the nearly 3 years I have been there.
posted by vrakatar at 2:57 PM on February 27, 2018

I work in a 400+ person factory that includes multiple shifts and 2 buildings. We do an 'all employee' meeting quarterly - but that means top management doing multiple sessions with different shifts and departments through the day. Production and Staff both do separate Start of Shift meetings daily.

My department of about 20 does a daily call-in meeting with our counterparts in the other building on first shift, and once a week we do it in the afternoon and have the second shift people come in early so we can all meet together.

And there's like, 3 other daily/weekly meetings my dept is involved in.
posted by Caravantea at 2:57 PM on February 27, 2018

We're a group of <2>2500 people. Our all-hands meetings are monthly, at varying times so the international folk can be included (HQ is in California, so the majority of the group meets convenient to Pacific Standard TIme.)
posted by Everydayville at 3:03 PM on February 27, 2018

Last job: ~75 people, once a month mandatory. Catered lunch.

Current job: ~200 people, two locations, once per quarter via Webex or whatever. Not mandatory but strongly encouraged. Afternoons, usually with cookies and other snacks.

Both about an hour each time.
posted by kevinbelt at 3:11 PM on February 27, 2018

Department meeting is about 35 people (some present, some dialed in by phone) held once a month and lasting an hour.

Division Town Hall meeting is a couple of hundred people, held once a year, lasting 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
posted by Lexica at 3:14 PM on February 27, 2018

I work for a university, an all employeee meeting would make no sense and be impossible.

But my business unit has a twice-monthly meeting on the schedule, for 1.5hours each time. In practice we cancel a good half of them and the rest rarely go over an hour, but the time’s set aside in case it’s needed.

There are four other business units under the same grandboss, and once in a blue moon we all get together, basically only when there’s a leadership change. Which has been a lot in the past few years.
posted by Stacey at 3:17 PM on February 27, 2018

Never. I work at an insurance company of about 1000. The closest we have is a general assembly that lasts half a day with food and a guest speaker every 2 years.
posted by kitcat at 3:18 PM on February 27, 2018

Once a quarter. Several hundred people. Maybe seating for 1/3 of them. 90 minutes and you might be standing for all of that. Held at 8am. No food, no drink, nothing offered. It sucks. I don't bother going.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:19 PM on February 27, 2018

I work for a multinational corporation with 4000 employees and we have quarterly town halls via Skype broadcast.
posted by something something at 3:57 PM on February 27, 2018

I work for an insurance company with monthly 30-60 minute meetings, with back-to-back meetings with the same agenda (1 at 8 AM, 1 at 9 AM) so that customer service and other critical functions are still covered. We have 1000 employees spread out across 7 or 8 offices; each office has a meeting room booked for videoconferencing for this, but a lot of people just Skype in from their desks. No food, unfortunately. Agenda usually involves CEO and other senior execs talking about budget/financials/key metrics as well as recent news items and regulatory developments that might effect the company, recognition of new employees and people doing good stuff that exemplifies the company values, and team leads/managers providing updates on various initiatives and happenings.
posted by bassooner at 4:20 PM on February 27, 2018

I work for a big corporation with 1000+ people in a bunch of different divisions that work on different products. We only all get together once a year, and people in our satellite offices watch it via webcam. That meeting is for really big corporate strategy announcements like new products, and company awards. My division of 100-ish people gets together quarterly for a few hours which is usually structured as a business update followed by a training. New hires get introduced. There's an optional session where a couple of team leads will present on their work; each team gets a slot once per year. They feed us breakfast.

I used to work for a nonprofit which grew to about 85 full time staff while I was there, and we had a much more traditional, monthly all-staff meeting with team updates, more like what you describe in the OP. We got free lunch.

I'm pretty ambivalent about them. I like being in the loop on both team updates and high-level strategy, but it's also easy to zone out when the discussion centers on work that doesn't affect you. It's a nice break from work, but it's also a time suck.
posted by capricorn at 4:40 PM on February 27, 2018

Lol if you think that's too much ... I work in tech, ~150. All hands every other week, eng all hands every other week, front end team stuff every other week, 1-2 hours, no food, drink, or laptops. This is common for every tech firm I've ever worked for. Smaller it's once a week and maybe beer.
posted by dame at 4:56 PM on February 27, 2018

I work for a theater company that employs 1,149 people (as of 2015, the most recent form 990 I could find). We have company meetings 2X a year, to which all staff are invited, but not required, to attend. Typical attendance is about 200 people.

The meetings are no longer than 2 hours. The general director presents recent successes, upcoming events/issues/etc., and longer range big picture plans. He also takes questions and comments from the company.

The meetings take place in the auditorium in the afternoon before a show or rehearsal, typically. There are no snacks.
posted by mollymayhem at 5:47 PM on February 27, 2018

I work for a large 8000-10,000 employee almost-Fortune-500 public company. We have company wide quarterly town halls, usually after our earnings call. These are usually 90 min. Then my business unit has their own quarterly meeting, which is another 90min. Then my department (a couple hundred+ I guess) has monthly-ish all-hands, which is another 90 min. Then my discipline within my department (40-ish) has our monthly meeting. The bigger the meeting the more likely I can attend via vidcom or similar from my desk, but... it's a lot. Just one all-hands type meeting a month would be lovely.

Abusing the edit window: I get fed at my workplace a lot, but oddly these meetings are without food. Attendance isn't required, but definitely encouraged.
posted by cgg at 5:47 PM on February 27, 2018

Very large tech company: weekly, optional, Thursday afternoon, telecast/standing room only, beer/wine served plus tasty (hot) snacks. Agenda similar to yours.

Smaller group within huge company: ~Once a month, not-so-optional, but still with beer. Agenda varied widely.

Tiny tech company: Monthly, one hour, optional, I haven't been yet because they won't let me bill for my time attending.
posted by Metasyntactic at 5:53 PM on February 27, 2018

Around 40 people, monthly, 1 hour at 8 a.m. pretty much like what you said minus the science and the food. We used to have birthday cake but since we have to borrow the room space and leave immediately after an hour the cake goes back to the office for eating later.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:11 PM on February 27, 2018

I most recently worked for a pharmaceutical company with thousands of employees around the globe. They had all staff meetings which meant each site got together in their auditorium or conference hall and watched a broadcasted dog and pony show from headquarters. This happened every six months or so. Whenever we got bought again or they unveiled some new b.s. "mission statement". They were interminable. A lot of people dodged them altogether or pretended to watch from their desks.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:17 PM on February 27, 2018

My company is about 90 people right now. We have a weekly company wide updates meeting. Usually one person presents, and there are new hire introductions and any large updates. Every two weeks, our CEO tells us about large sales prospects on the horizon. Meeting is ~30-45 minutes. If you have to miss it, it's ok.
posted by annabear at 6:55 PM on February 27, 2018

I work in a functional group of about 120 people in a company of several thousand. We never have truly all-hands meetings, but our group meets for an hour once a month (in two groups at different times, as we have no space for the whole group to meet at once). The agenda is pretty much the same as yours, but without the donuts...

We also have monthly meetings of departments within our functional group, more technically focused, that last from half an hour to an hour.

Except for specific training events or project/emergency war rooms, meetings rarely, if ever, last more than an hour.
posted by lhauser at 7:08 PM on February 27, 2018

Current company (defense R&D) - about 1700 people, one major site, all hands once a quarter. First thing in the morning, coffee was available as you walked in the front door. Topics include general state of the company, recent major technical accomplishments, diversity efforts, and facilities updates (the building is in the middle of a major renovation).

Last company (also defense R&D) - around 7500 people, two main sites and over a dozen international satellites. All hands every six months or so, alternating major sites with live steaming everywhere else. General state of the company stuff. More frequent "ask the CEO" informal livestream where people would write in questions whice tended to be pretty wide ranging. No freebies for these meetings (or ever, really).
posted by backseatpilot at 7:09 PM on February 27, 2018

I work at a mid-size agency (20 people), we have a weekly all-hands WIP (30 minutes) and a fortnightly agency update (45 minutes). The meetings are invaluable to me (management) and consistently get good ratings from the team. We have a very very tight agenda that anyone can contribute to, but we never allow ourselves to go over time.

Previously I worked in a 15 person startup that had a monthly all-hands and it was a three-hour shitshow that everyone dreaded and never felt like a good use of our time.
posted by third word on a random page at 7:14 PM on February 27, 2018

I used to work for a publicly-funded company. We had all-staff meetings 1-2 x per year. They lasted about 2 hours, and they were held in a nearby movie theatre, so that about 600 people could fit. Popcorn was allowed.

The meetings were scheduled as required, so they were timed to line up with any restructurings or major budget cuts, announce major new projects, and be introduced to high-profile new hires (so, either high up in the command chain, or in the most public-facing parts of the business)- but not regular new hires.

Also I think sometimes they briefly gave gifts to employees hitting major milestone years of service, and they'd do a little presentation of recent company accolades to sweeten the mood.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:21 PM on February 27, 2018

At the NASA base where I worked for so long, every couple of months. Recognition of those receiving awards, please stand for a round of applause. Then a pep talk or a special guest, maybe a presentation on something new. Rarely, refreshments are served, outside, help yourself on the way in. Depending on the charisma of the presenters, possibly interminable. Televised on the intranet; and some watch, especially if something significant's going down, or rumored to be. Attendance by contractors usually optional. Sit in the back (or arrive late and stand by the door, just outside) if you want to leave early. Very occasionally, mandatory, and you have to sign in.
posted by Rash at 7:26 PM on February 27, 2018

I'm in a department of about 12 people and we have monthly 3-hour meetings. Our wider division is a couple of hundred people and we have all hands meetings three times a year that last all day (10-4).
posted by lollusc at 7:54 PM on February 27, 2018

I work in a school.

We have a weekly briefing on Monday morning, 15 minutes, to flag things coming up that week.

We have a weekly all staff meeting every Tuesday for an hour, which includes dissemination of information, discussions about issues, long-term planning, professional development, etc. No catering.

(In the past, we had different types of meetings scheduled each week on a rotation, but this year we have moved to have a general staff meeting with an agenda that varies.)

We have a number of all-day professional development events throughout the year in addition to our weekly meetings.

We have faculty meetings roughly once a month, and other groups (workforce committee, IT, curriculum, etc) meet on different schedules according to their needs.
posted by robcorr at 8:20 PM on February 27, 2018

My ~500-person company has had hour-long all-hands meetings every other week since well before I started (as employee #100) three years ago. The format and content has changed over the years, but it usually includes an intro of new team members, anniversary celebrations, a financial scoreboard, an AMA with a C-level or VP-level person, and something intended to be fun or engaging.

Meetings used to be after the official end of the day but we moved it up earlier when we opened an office in a later timezone with primarily hourly. The meeting is held via videoconference for both offices at the same time, and presentation duties are shared between offices so neither office is stuck staring at a screen the whole time. Food is not provided unless we're specifically celebrating something, though it is the sort of office where folks might grab a beer and a snack from the kitchen on their way to the conference room.

There's been a lot of pushback over the past year on the length, frequency, and expectation that everyone will attend, particularly because it's tough for customer-facing teams and hourly employees with schedules that don't match up with the meeting timing to work around. Because of this, they now often try to keep the meetings under 1 hour, and will occasionally cancel a meeting or two during peak season. It's been harder to convince them to reduce the frequency, because leadership has kind of an emotional attachment to it.
posted by rhiannonstone at 8:55 PM on February 27, 2018

I work on comms and having been organising town halls / off-sites for over ten years. Frequency varies an awful lot but what you're describing definitely falls within normal range.
posted by smoke at 9:44 PM on February 27, 2018

I work for a large government agency, about 800 people which is split over 4+ sites. Genuine all employees is never, invites go to the three main sites personnel every few months or so. Attendance is optional and a minority turn up. Organisational strategic direction is the general thing covered, along with some specifics of what's coming up. No freebies and done in under half an hour. Our activities are far too diverse to warrant much more than this.
posted by deadwax at 10:25 PM on February 27, 2018

There are 6 staff at my non-profit org. We have staff meetings once a week when things are chugging along and more often than that when we're in the middle of launching a campaign or getting near to an event date. The regular ones are about a half hour long with everyone giving updates. The more frequent ones are for divvying up responsibilities and check-ins. We also often congregate in our central office area and chat about things that came up at board meetings, phone calls we've had, etc.
posted by cooker girl at 5:51 AM on February 28, 2018

Another very small (<1>
At my last company (1100 ee), we had annual all-employee town-hall type meetings and monthly all-manager (people leader) meetings.
posted by Twicketface at 11:03 AM on February 28, 2018

I work at a ~400 people tech company and we have a 30 min all-hands every week. Attendance can be sporadic, often people will skip out. We video conference in our other US offices. We rotate which dept presents briefly each week and ends with Q&A usually run by our CEO.

We have a half to full day all hands every 3 months which delves deeper into the work that has been done over the last quarter.
posted by theRussian at 11:19 AM on February 28, 2018

At my last place we had a staff of 150 and we held monthly all-staff meetings that sound, well, exactly like yours. Introductions of new staff, announcements on retirements and moves, two or three presentations on new initiatives or spotlight on team projects. With coffee and cookies. I rather liked them, actually.

At my current job we have a staff of 10 and we hold a 1.5h meeting weekly, no snacks.
posted by epanalepsis at 1:02 PM on February 28, 2018

Tech company, around 150 folks. All-hands mandatory meeting with people in other offices dialing remotely. Once a month but some months get skipped if the CEO is ill or really busy. No set length but usually around 45 minutes. No food at the meetings but I can't complain since they give us lunch once a week.
posted by prewar lemonade at 1:30 PM on February 28, 2018

Large multinational. Global "town hall" a few times a year to cover major accomplishments/news/financial results/upcoming changes, catered in some locations, with the option to join online. My department of ten-ish has a weekly 45 minute call and a monthly four-hour meeting without food, either 8-12 or 1-5. International team members join in person between quarterly and annually, via phone or video conference otherwise.
posted by a moisturizing whip at 8:53 PM on February 28, 2018

Your situation sounds utterly within the range of normal for my 20+ years of nonprofit experience.
posted by desuetude at 11:00 PM on February 28, 2018

we have about 50 people and we do exactly what you describe, except that we don't actually meet if there's nothing to meet about, it probably ends up being 8 times a year, otherwise cancelled at the director's discretion.
posted by katieanne at 4:32 PM on March 4, 2018

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