SoWork Skip Level Meeting Template
Hold a remote skip level meeting your team will love. Feel like you're truly beside each other. And - thanks to AI-powered meeting tools - save hours of time, too.
About the SoWork Skip Level Meeting Template
The Skip Level Meeting Template in SoWork is a simple path to an impactful and productive meeting. Skip level meetings are scheduled sessions where someone in upper level management meets with employees. The term ‘skip level’ was derived from the fact that these meetings always involve someone in management and leadership that’s at least two levels above the employee.
Historically, employees would talk to their immediate supervisors, who’d then speak directly to the executives or directors. While this is useful, it means upper management and leadership rarely connect directly with employees.
Therefore, skip level meetings are a high-value communication tool that’s used to bridge the gap between general staff members and higher level management. For both sides, it’s an opportunity to elevate concerns, provide feedback, ask and answer questions, and share ideas.
4 Benefits of Using the Skip Level Meeting Template
1️⃣ Meeting Summaries via Sophia Bot, SoWork’s generative AI Office Assistant
With this Skip Level Template, you’re able to use SoWork’s AI generated Meeting Summaries (created by Sophia Bot). This Smart Office tool allows you to get the most out of your meeting by providing clear, section-by-section summaries and tidy action items. With SoWork’s Sophia Bot, you have your next priorities lined up right away, saving you time and energy.
When the meeting begins, click the Sophia Bot icon under your video tile - you’ll then see Sophia Bot begin typing. From here, your meeting content is being transcribed and summarized automatically, and a note with your Meeting Summary will be available to you and your team within minutes of leaving the meeting. You can access these notes at any point afterwards as they’ll be stored within your personal Meeting Summaries Codex on the SoWork app.
2️⃣ Feeling like you’re really together
With the SoWork Skip Level Meeting Template, you’re able to collect early and linger around afterwards, because you’re in a virtual office! Your team can literally see that your design teammate is coming out of a deep work period and heading over to the meeting area, or that the supervisor you’re meeting with has just walked in the room.
This buzzing office energy fosters deeper connections, spontaneous conversations, and ideation that drives innovation, and just isn’t possible on a scheduled Zoom or Teams call.
By using this SoWork, your team will truly feel like you’re sitting beside each other in a real office. You’re able to sit beside your favourite co-worker and grab people on the way out the door when the meeting ends. This feeling of togetherness is key for distributed and remote teams, helping your team feel aligned and ready to crush some work!
3️⃣ Enhanced team alignment and collaboration
Skip level meetings increase employee engagement, full-team alignment, and provide numerous collaboration opportunities. They’re excellent for getting teammates and upper level management on the same page, and give management an in-depth understanding of the day to day operations in various areas of the company. With this, you’re able to help solve problems and be at the core of organizational improvements.
Employees that attend skip level meetings obtain a greater sense of belonging while gaining top-level strategy insights. Perhaps your manager or director will come to you with a problem the company is having, and hope to include you in the decision making process. This allows you to brainstorm together, as they may need your expertise on the front-lines to help them strategize for the future.
Skip levels are great areas to provide feedback to your employer and make a different kind of impact. Maybe they’d like to understand their customers better and need input from the people who interact with them regularly. Teams that are more engaged with upper level management and leadership tend to be higher-performing teams and have a better sense of alignment, focus, and purpose.
4️⃣ Direct access to upper level management
Skip level meetings allow for wonderful amounts of transparency, providing a more open and inclusive communication culture. As a result, trust can be increased between staff and upper management, employers can maintain a pulse on company happenings, as well as share their vision and perspective.
Someone in a senior leadership role is able to establish a more personal relationship with their staff and build a stronger rapport. Overall, skip level meetings improve the flow of communication across the company. These meetings can break down any barriers that exist, vs. going through a typical chain of communication where information is transmitted through leadership, to managers, then to supervisors and employees.
This feedback loop is critical to building better communication habits at work, and surfacing this information regularly has a huge impact on velocity - a key factor for high performing teams.
How to Use the Skip Level Meeting Template
After clicking on the “Try Template” button, we’ll guide you through a quick onboarding flow, where we’ll make a virtual office. Your meeting template will be inside this office, and after onboarding, you’ll land in your template - ready to try it out with your team!
At SoWork, because we work beside each other in a virtual office, we’re able to see when people start gathering around before the meeting begins. So, when others in the office see their teammates collecting in the meeting area a few minutes early, they know they’re welcome to walk over and catch up.
Or, maybe they want to quickly grab their supervisor and ask them a question before the meeting. Being able to collaborate with your team on the fly and ask questions when needed is instrumental for a successful skip level meeting.
SoWork’s multitude of meeting related features make hosting meetings engaging and productive. You’re able to blast emojis - and even a teammate’s avatar - to celebrate progress, raise your avatar’s hand when you have a question (and lower it again when it’s been answered), screenshare multiple screens, use whiteboards together and so much more. You can also customize your Meeting Zone by adding relevant images and documents for your team to view before, after, or during your skip level meeting.
✨ How do I prep for my skip level meeting? ✨
To effectively prepare for your team’s skip level, first decide on your meeting cadence, and ensure the meeting purpose and expectations are clear. The cadence of a skip level meeting can vary, so it’s best to choose what makes the most sense for your team. Some teams like to hold these meetings twice each year, and some prefer to host skip level meetings every quarter.
Going into a skip level meeting, every team member should know exactly what the skip level is for, and how it will be structured. As a leader, director or executive, best practice is to set the stage by informing the direct supervisor and employee(s) beforehand, and letting them know why you’re wanting to run the meeting. You should let them know that skip level meetings are a great way to build better relationships throughout the company, and discover areas where things can be improved.
Ensure the direct supervisor knows that they can ask any questions and raise any concerns whenever they’d like, and that you’d happily share your learnings from the team afterward. Further, it’s advised to have a good understanding of what your staff members are working on, and why.
For the employees, let them know that you’re excited to get their feedback, and have them bring some ideas to the table of what they would like to see improved upon. Many executives prefer a structured approach and will send out an agenda before the meeting that contains a list of topics that should be covered.
Some of these topics could include:
- What’s working well, and what’s not working in the way you would have liked?
- What do you love about the company?
- What changes would you like to make?
- What should I start doing as a leader, stop doing, and keep doing?
- What is the biggest issue facing your role in the organization?
- What do you need from the leadership team?
- What progress have you seen in the department over the last quarter and why?
✨ How do I get the most out of my skip level? ✨
There are quite a few best practices for running a skip level meeting. These meetings should be conducted professionally and respectfully. Remain open-minded in the conversations that arise, and encourage a two-way dialogue between employees and leadership. With this, staff can see that you value their input and want to understand their concerns.
When in a skip level meeting, many teams spend a portion of the meeting getting to know each other. This is especially important if the people in the room don’t work together often or haven’t met at all. Try to learn a bit more about the people you work with, and the people you lead. This portion of the meeting should serve as a short ice-breaker before proceeding with the rest of the agenda.
We recommend asking questions like:
- What prompted you to come work here?
- When you are outside of work, what do you do for fun?
- What's the best part of your day?
After the meeting ends, share a recap with the individuals that attended, as well as the direct supervisor. This is particularly easy with Sophia Bot’s Meeting Summaries. In a SoWork virtual office, a quick sync with someone is just steps away - perhaps you need to be unblocked by a colleague to complete an action item. Just walk over to your teammate - no meeting links or calendar invites required.