Online Townhall Meeting Learnings

A few days ago we held our first full online townhall meeting with roughly 100 colleagues of the german IT and it was… a great success. We all were more than excited but it was the best meeting we ever had. 

How come and what did we do? This has to be written down to prevent it to be forgotten and to encourage others to connect to their people in these hard days.


  • had no clue, no time, no professional equipment

Nevertheless – we accepted the challenge to really think about what could be important for our people now, how to create engagement and involvement and how to bring a smile onto the faces of our colleagues in these crazy times. We used Google’s Hangouts Meet rather than professional studio equipment so we can replicate this easily on short notice without a big setup.

  • created excitement upfront and showed people that we care

We packed Corona-Care parcels with snacks, hygiene products and easter bunnies. The parcels partly arrived before the announcement, which led to tremendous fun in our IT hangout chat group.

  • started the event with a real funny video

To set the scene and to attune to the fact that we were doing something completely new, we started with a short and super-funny video “The Muppet Laboratories”. This easy and familiar feeling continued throughout the whole event and gave it a wonderful lightness.

  • asked our people how they are and where they are

We showed real interest in the special situation our team is in and started a Mentimeter-survey. We asked how they feel, in which room they are working, how many kids they have around. But also how much they like working from home and if they feel more or less performant (more than 50% feel they are more performant while less than 10% experience their performance as  lower). And very important, do they feel enough informed by Randstad during these current times (from +++ to —: no one voted negativ and 90% voted +++ and ++). A very good sign for the communication in our company.

  • invited famous speakers for a short key note

Richard, our CEO, gave us the honor and dialed himself in to address us personally – much easier to implement online versus catching him in the office. 

And another advantage of online meetings: You are much closer to the speaker. It feels like he is focusing on you only which helps to transport facial expressions and emotions much better. 

In addition, Susanne, the MD of Southern Germany, sent a video message and delivered the voice of the customer by sharing first-hand IT experiences within the sales organisation, full of praise for the huge efforts of the IT team, which enabled our salesforce as well as our head office to work fully from remote.

  • prepared the frame and left the content to the teams

All departments had 10 minutes to present what they did in the last three month and where they are heading to in the future.

Some showed technical stuff, some their journey to self organization and some had a full team conversation about their agile transformation. Very diverse and very interesting. 

A huge advantage over physical meetings: People directly shared their thoughts, praises and thanks within the hangouts meet chat window creating a super nice group dynamic.

  • shared a great Netflix-like moment together

Finally we took the chips out of the Corona-Care package and watched a video with team pictures and thank you-emails from our customer-colleagues. 

Even so everyone of us is, in his own way, affected by the Corona-crisis – by worrying about relatives, teaching kids at home, developing own methods to prevent cabin fever – it still seems to bring us more together. To recognize what good we have in the people we are working with, which are trusting and supporting us.

And again, the most important aspect was: just do it. Think about your people – what do they need right now: information, shared feelings, sense of community, positive news and inspiring outlooks. Then start your hangout session and share your stories and feelings.

Thank you all, Randstad IT-guys, for this experience!

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