The purpose of holding internal company meetings is to keep teams or employees engaged, motivated, on track, and most of all, productive. At least once a year, once a quarter, or in some cases, once a month, companies gather into a conference room or rented event venue and tune in to executives discussing the company’s progress and roadmap for the future. However, in our modern “work from anywhere” global economy, there are some challenges with getting everyone in the same room, or even the same time zone for an in-person meeting.
Distributed workforces are starting to become the norm with organizations expanding across the U.S. and globally. So, does it make sense to fly out all of your employees to your company headquarters for internal meetings? Or, should you take your show on the road and travel to different company hubs around the globe to accommodate all of your employees? While both of those options should be considered, there is a third, more cost-effective and efficient option to consider: A virtual company meeting.
While this term “virtual company meeting” may conjure up images of avatars wandering around in Second Life, what I’m talking about is actually a bit more traditional. Widespread broadband and mobile broadband means that your team can attend your company’s meeting from almost anywhere. In fact, 32% of all meetings are now conducted virtually.
This article talks about the 5 signs your company meetings should be virtual, identifying the benefits of virtual communication along the way.
1. Is a significant percentage of your workforce remote?
According to the New York Times, “telecommuting has risen 79 percent between 2005 and 2012 and now makes up 2.6 percent of the American workforce, or 3.2 million workers”. If you account for that same rate of growth over the next 5 years, a significant number of companies will have a remote workforce in the near future. Keeping these employees engaged with your company and making them feel like a part of the team is essential. With employees engaging face-to-face through virtual meetings, they are able to foster a global team environment, a participating audience, free from other work related distractions, and a more progressive conversation.
2. Is your company cutting back on travel budgets?
Budget cuts are nothing new. Many companies are actively looking for ways to collaborate with prospects and customers without hopping on a transcontinental flight. The same ideas can be easily adapted for internal company meetings. The quality of an interaction between people many miles apart has increased significantly because of technologies like broadband, high definition video, screen sharing, and live interactive tools. If chosen wisely, the money spent on these technologies is a drop in the bucket compared to potential travel costs and loss of productivity when traveling. Virtual company meetings allow for big savings when it comes to travel costs.
3. Does your company have international employees?
According to LTS Training, “successful, high-performing international teams do not just happen. Working with people from other countries, often using different languages and working across different time zones, is a complex and often frustrating business – and these complexities need to be tackled right from the start.”
This is especially true when those people in other countries are part of the same company. Including them in a virtual event is a great way to bridge cultural gaps and help unite your organization as a whole.
4. Does your company embrace new technology?
Live streaming is a great way to make content more personal and humanize your business. If your company is one to embrace new technology trends, creating a virtual event may be a great way to demonstrate your culture of innovation to employees. Not only will prospects, clients, and employees be more engaged through live streaming, you can also see people’s expressions and body language, making for a stronger and more personable connection. Business2Community states that most employees and clients “like to do business with people they know, like, and trust, so the more content you can provide that shows your personality and the people behind the business, the better.” On top of this, live streaming also allows you to poll attendees and gather feedback from them in a simple manner instead of the chaos that comes with gathering feedback from attendees at or after a live event.
5. Do you want to provide an “on demand” version of your meeting after it’s over?
If you look at companies and organizations who are in the lead when it comes to big ideas, such as Gartner, TED Talks, and Singularity University, you will notice one thing they all have in common, rich libraries of video content. Think of your company meetings as an opportunity to begin building your own library for reference, communications and historical purposes. Enabling employees to view presentations on their schedule means higher participation rates at meetings and insight into your company’s vision.
So there you go, 5 triggers to indicate virtual company meetings are something your company should highly consider. If you are on the fence about changing your company’s meeting format, you can always continue meeting in person, but offering live or on-demand video recordings of those meetings after the fact is a great place to start. Ultimately, your employees and clients will appreciate the flexible, inclusive message you’re sending.