Why I spend 2 weeks every quarter on an internal presentation

Mathilde Collin
Dec 13, 2019 · 4 min read
Source: Front

Every quarter, I build a presentation about our business, not for investors or customers, but for my employees. It’s a ton of work. In sharing this practice with others, I’ve found it’s rather unique. I strongly believe this is some of my most well-spent time so I’m sharing how and why I do it.

The presentation is called Last Quarter at Front (LQAF). I’ve been holding it for 2 years — and for 2 years before that, I actually held it monthly, called Last Month at Front. Here are the slides from LQAF in Q1 and Q2.

Last Quarter at Front, Q1 2019
Last Quarter at Front, Q2 2019

What we cover in LQAF

This meeting has become a tradition for us, and the entire Front team attends. We cover a few key items every time:

  1. Review learnings and results: For most of the quarter we’re heads-down executing. LQAF is structured time for us to take a step back together. Something I find interesting is that as companies grow, many leaders only share learnings with the exec team and expect execs to pass it along to their teams. I find it better to share with everyone so they have the context. I share everything: revenue numbers, hiring, what has shipped, runway, etc.
  2. Look ahead at the next quarter: We go over our goals and the things coming up to be excited about. We want to energize everyone towards our goals.
  3. Remind people mission and strategy: One thing I’ve learned: until people tell you they can’t stand hearing what your mission and strategy is, then you’ve not said it enough 😄 I can’t highlight how important it is to always remind people the why and the how behind all the goals that we’re setting for the company.

The process behind LQAF

I follow a similar process for LQAF as I do for making all my decks. I think it’s important to find a story to tie your points together and make a cohesive argument.

  1. First find the story, then illustrate it with metrics and anecdotes. If you don’t start with understanding what the story behind the presentation is going to be, then it ends up being a lot of metrics and isn’t super engaging.
  2. Find a theme so people remember it. Add images and videos to make it even more memorable. For example, in Q1 2019, I shared a video of Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10 in the Olympics to illustrate our theme of “It’s all about execution.”

LQAF is worth the effort

I start preparing for LQAF 2 weeks before the end of the quarter. The presentation takes up a full hour for the entire company, so it’s an expensive meeting. It might seem like this is too much time to spend on an internal presentation, but I disagree.

I believe strongly that LQAF is a big contributor to our high employee engagement.

My theory: LQAF boosts employee engagement

I use Culture Amp surveys to measure employee engagement. I like these surveys because they help us see what’s working and what’s not. For example, we learned from Q3 that only 75% of employees feel they have access to the learning and development they need to do their job, so now we know we need to work on that.

We also learned that 96% would recommend Front as a great place to work. Here’s why I think LQAF contributes to this greatly.

  1. People know what the company’s mission is and believe in it. It might seem repetitive, but we go over our company mission every week in All Hands and again in LQAF. This showed in the survey results because 94% understand and believe in our company’s mission and strategy.
  2. People know what they’re responsible for and how they are contributing to the company goals. When we’re setting quarterly and yearly goals, we make sure that the individual goals of every Fronteer lines up to team and company goals. And it pays off: 95% understand the expectations and responsibilities of their role, and 94% know how the work they do contributes to the goals of Front.
  3. People find meaning in their work. We spend the majority of our days at work so it’s not surprising that people are increasingly demanding more meaning to how they spend this time. A certain kind of magic happens when you have an inspiring purpose, people understand how their work impacts that purpose, and they are given opportunities to grow personally and professionally. This is meaningful work and I couldn’t be prouder that 93% of Front employees feel that the work they do is meaningful.
  4. People are happy because they feel part of the journey. When we discuss as a group how we’ve done and where we’re headed, people feel a part of something greater. LQAF contributes to this greatly. Cori, our first support team member, said, “LQAF is the moment I get most energy at Front.”

LQAF is critical to maintaining and increasing our employee engagement, making those hours I spend on it some of my most valuable hours of the quarter. From a business perspective, this investment is worth it because employees are your biggest assets, and attrition is your biggest cost. I do this for my employees because I believe they deserve this kind of deep involvement in the business.

If you want to see my LQAF slides and other internal communication tactics that I use, my team collected them as templates, along with some from other founders we admire. You can get them here and let me know how you put them into practice.

Mathilde Collin

Written by

LEGO builder. Co-founder & CEO @ Front (frontapp.com)

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