One highly-effective way to boost employee sentiment and truly get buy-in is through engaging company town halls.

Much more than a problem of low morale or behind-the-scenes grumbling, disengaged employees cost the world a jaw-dropping $7.8 trillion in lost productivity in 2021. That was 11% of global GDP. According to a 2022 survey from Gallup, nearly one in three employees are disengaged at work. On the flip side, companies with successful employee engagement realize about 23% greater profits.

Company town halls can help keep your employees connected and engaged, especially in dispersed work environments.

What is a company town hall meeting?

A company town hall is typically an all-hands meeting in which the leadership team looks to connect with employees, present critical business information, recognize employee efforts, and promote company values. These meetings can be held in person, virtually, or in a hybrid format. The main goal is to increase transparency and give employees a direct line to leadership — no matter the size of the organization.

Unfortunately, the challenging logistics of travel and planning an in-person town hall prevent many companies from holding them. This is especially true for companies with large-scale workforces and multiple business locations. Virtual town halls provide an effective, scalable solution for bringing employees together.

The value of a virtual town hall

While in-person meetings will always provide value in certain situations, video is the ideal medium for company town halls for a number of reasons:

  1. Sense of community: At their core, company town halls connect employees and leaders, fostering a greater sense of community in your organization. If you have a large company with several offices, making these meetings virtual is a great way to boost camaraderie across different geographies.
  2. Better reach: Akamai’s Senior Global Events Manager, Simon Gerzina, saw how his team dramatically expanded their reach with virtual town halls, switching from a process of flying executives from office to office. “As a virtual program, we had much better adoption because we could actually include everyone. We went from only being able to get in front of maybe 50% of our population, to being able to get in front of 100% of our people with the recording and 80% live.” (Case study: How a global tech provider scaled video creation without increasing its budget).
  3. More inclusive: Greater reach yields greater inclusivity. Virtual company town halls provide better accessibility to employees who work remotely, manage caregiving duties, have a different learning style, or are unable to come into the office due to an illness or disability.
  4. Flexibility: Video recordings enable employees to watch your company town hall on their time. For example, some employees may have conflicts during the originally scheduled meeting. Others may want to reference the recording later. Company town hall videos also make great onboarding resources.
  5. Audience engagement: Many employees don’t want to speak up in front of their entire company and therefore remain silent during large, in-person meetings. Virtual town halls, however, allow for chat and polling functionality, creating a lower-stress audience engagement option. Employees can even pre-record messages of themselves to play during the town hall (How to create authentic employee spotlights easily).

Finding the right virtual town hall platform

Employees have grown increasingly fatigued with the standard video conference experience. To keep them engaged, video meetings need to become more intentional and dynamic (6 reasons why recording content on Zoom is coming up short).

The right virtual town hall meeting platform should strike a balance between a professional look and feel and ease of use. Socialive’s end-to-end video creation platform, for example, provides intuitive tools that make it easy to create content for any business use. Especially for anyone who’s responsible for managing the town hall (who might not be a video expert), Socialive enables anyone in your organization to easily create branded, immersive town hall experiences that inspire, inform, and engage employees.

Once the meeting is over, one-click integrations ensure you can send the recording directly to anywhere you want to publish it — from social media accounts, meeting and event platforms, and file hosting sites to marketing automation platforms and video editing tools. This makes it easy to keep the meeting as an on-demand recording, clip the best parts for highlights or public consumption, or edit portions into new content.

Tips to improve company town hall engagement

Now that we’ve covered the importance of company town halls and what to look for in a virtual solution, here are a few tips to make the event robust and thrill your employees:

Pre-record content

Eliminate on-air stress, and give yourself ample time to add finishing touches by remotely recording your content in advance (Why remote video creation is the future of enterprise communications). Not only does this method better accommodate executives’ busy schedules, but it also enables you to hear from more voices across the organization.

Include interactive live components

Socialive integrates with audience engagement tools like Pigeonhole to add live chat, polls, Q&As, reactions, and more to your company town hall program.

Amplify diverse voices

Source pre-recorded content from your employees (Guide to capturing video content in the field), which can be seamlessly interspersed with live and other pre-recorded videos to showcase more perspectives across your company.

Prep your presenters

You might assume leaders are naturally good on camera, but they can often use a little coaching to make sure everything goes smoothly (8 ways to improve the thought leader experience in talking head videos).

Consider live-to-tape or other formats

Psst! Your company town hall doesn’t need to be live. Experiment with the way you deliver your presentation to see what resonates best with your employees. For example, you could pre-record the entire town hall for employees to view a simulive event, then set up a 30-minute true live Q&A session to answer any questions employees might have after they watch the recording. Or, you can send the first portion of the event as an asynchronous recording to be viewed on their own time ahead of the Q&A session (Asynchronous video communication: How to prepare for the future of work).

The business impact of company town halls

Working to improve employee engagement through an engaging company town hall delivers enormous business impact. Virtual town halls can help you maintain strong connections with your people, engage your employees in an open and authentic format, and get everyone to buy into your corporate goals and your company’s mission.

Take a quick, self-guided tour of our platform to see how Socialive can help you easily create professional company town halls that keep your team connected and engaged.

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