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6 Types of Different Meeting That Help Build A Hybrid Company Culture

6 Types of Different Meeting That Help Build A Hybrid Company Culture

As more companies shift to a hybrid working model, meetings and shared experiences reinforce a business’s mission, purpose and values.

When a meeting request arrives in your inbox, there are usually only two common reactions.

The ideal reaction is that you’re excited for the meeting. It could represent a chance to pitch an idea you’ve wanted to share with your manager and team. You could be relieved to get a long-awaited decision about an important issue. You might just like the idea of brainstorming with your coworkers.

Then there’s the other common reaction. You might roll your eyes wrinkle your nose, or let you an audible sigh. These are the meetings that you suspect won’t be organized, will run overtime or which simply don’t seem to accomplish very much. It means you’re losing time you feel you could be better spent.

No one sends out a meeting request intending to provoke a negative response from invitees, of course. Meetings are an essential form of collaboration. When they’re well-run, they ensure colleagues don’t duplicate their efforts, avoid mistakes due to miscommunication and simply feel more cohesive as a team.

Organizing valuable meetings is even more important as more companies shift to a hybrid working model. Having a strong corporate culture requires regularly interacting and having shared experiences that reinforce a business’s mission, purpose and values.

This doesn’t necessarily mean companies need to introduce new kinds of meetings, or to drastically increase the number of meetings they schedule every week. A lot will depend on the unique nature of your business and what teams should be talking about in order to stay connected.

Hybrid work might simply require you to think about what you bring to each meeting in terms of leadership and vision to foster and maintain team spirit. It’s about keeping in mind the employee experience whether people are attending the meeting in the office, at home or elsewhere.

1. Onboarding

Once a new employee has been hired, it’s critical for companies to set them up for success. When they’re conducted in person, onboarding sessions might include an office tour and introductions to a wide range of team members.

Hybrid onboarding meetings should aim for something similar. Consider inviting the heads of a few departments or peer-level employees to give them a sense of the people they’ll be collaborating with on a regular basis. Try a simple icebreaker game like “Would You Rather” or “Two Truths And A Lie” to give new hires a sense of the personalities on the other side of a screen.

2. All Hands

Also sometimes known as “Town Hall” meetings, the all-hands meeting brings together employees across the organization. These are usually reserved for important updates about the company strategy or to discuss a change in policy.

The risk with all-hands meetings in a hybrid company is that people working off site might not be as active in discussions. Encourage everyone to keep their camera turned on, and make regular call-outs to those working remotely to ensure they’re given a chance to speak. Consider running polls that can be done by the entire group, or designating time for feedback from remote employees.

3. Daily Huddles

There are some companies where checking in every morning is a standard practice, even if it’s only with those working on a specific team like sales or marketing. A daily huddle doesn’t have to be long but they can help prevent hybrid team members from feeling too isolated.

You can inject culture-building elements to these brief gatherings by kicking them off with a “daily win” or even just recognizing some progress towards a larger goal. It only takes a minute for people to share how they’re doing or discuss current events. Always be looking for ways to weave some extra humanity into digitally-enabled conversations.

4. Project Status Updates

No matter the company, there are always efforts to expand into new markets, adopt new technologies or introduce new products and services. None of these initiatives tend to work out unless you have solid project management in place. That’s why project updates represent one of the most common types of meetings in a business.

Avoid the most common pitfall in these meetings by making sure the discussion doesn’t consist of details that could have been shared more readily via communication tools like Slack. Instead, project status updates should be organized on the agenda based on areas where stakeholders need to be informed or consulted, decisions that need to be made and problems solved.

Running these kinds of meetings on time and providing value to all attendees will directly contribute to a strong culture, because employees will feel their time and options are respected.

5. Innovation Sessions

The best ideas in many businesses often come directly from the people working across multiple areas. They can pitch new products or process improvements based on their direct experience, or relay what they’ve heard from customers.

Cultivate creativity in these meetings with exercises that get everyone thinking differently. Pretend the group is working in a completely different industry for a minute, or that they’re working in a different location.

You can also aim to enliven the discussion by using brainstorming tools like digital whiteboards and encouraging propel to share photos and video clips that bring their ideas to life.

6. Team Celebrations

When the majority of people worked in the same location, it wasn’t uncommon for managers to bring in free pizza or donuts after landing a big deal or launching a new product. Employees might have even booked boardrooms to host a baby shower or to celebrate some other life event.

You can continue these traditions in a hybrid company. If you want to make sure remote workers don’t feel left out, think about sending them a gift card for a meal delivery service. Create a digital “wall” using cloud-based productivity software for people to sign a card for a coworker’s retirement or to wish a newly-engaged employee well on their wedding.

One final tip: Schedule at least one meeting every now and then to discuss the other meetings you regularly have with the team. What’s working? What’s not? How could the meetings be improved to reflect the hybrid reality? That’s one meeting invite almost everyone is sure to accept.

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