Company events are the tried-and-true method of facilitating teambuilding and engagement for employees. Just like any good party, a company event breaks the ice between co-workers and creates camaraderie by celebrating the success of your company.
The reasons you want to host a good company event are obvious: Create unity among the employees, inspire them to work towards a common goal, and to invigorate the work environment. But as the entire world moves into the “new normal” – many businesses are unsure of how to manage these events in the future.
If company events are so effective at driving employee engagement, then the only question left for HR teams is, “How to make the most out of my event?” Before you can start the planning phase, there are a few issues you should consider in advance:
- Why are you organizing this event?
- What is the purpose of the company’s activities?
- Why type of activities does the company organize?
- The scope of personnel involved? The employees themselves, spouse, children?
- If there is negative feedback from the previous event, how can we improve it during this event?
- How to motivate employees to actively participate in activities?
In this article, we’re going to outline the fundamentals of event planning so your next company event is a massive success.
Types of events
Whenever you have new employees join the company, or one of your teams completes a project, the department should organize a team-building event. A team-building event is meant to create opportunities for employees to learn about each other and make them more comfortable building working relationships.
General team building should only be held within the department or team – because you want the employees within this team to build working relationships with each other. But what activities should be planned for a team-building event? The best thing a department head can do is listen, and implement, the ideas of their employees. Keep the activities diverse – not everyone will like everything – but everyone should like something.
Professional development events
A company hires an employee first-and-foremost for their experience and ability. In the same way, employees work for the company in exchange for remuneration. If your company needs to attract and improve the ability of talent retention, and strengthen the business capabilities of employees, it can provide employees with professional knowledge development activities.
Professional development events can be especially engaging and valuable for ambitious employees, or employees with potential to be a top performer. It is also a valuable way to enhance your company’s strategy for talent retention. The company can invite well-known consultants, industry leaders, key opinion leaders (KOL), etc. to share industry knowledge with employees.
The common annual events include company anniversaries, holiday parties, company kick-off meetings, summer picnic/outdoor events, etc. The main reason for holding annual events is to review the company’s annual performance, share the company’s achievements, major company announcements, new product/service promotion, etc. Through annual activities, companies can thank employees for their hard work during the year and express their importance to employees. You can also address the goals for the coming year, inspire a common vision, and reach a consensus.
Annual activities are generally the most important company activity during the year, involving all employees of the company, so the company can share important information.
Venue of events
Before the pandemic, choosing a venue for the event was much simpler. The event would either be hosted in the office, or outside the office. Naturally, the venue was determined according to the purpose of the company’s activities. Usually training and product display activities are held in the office because they generally contain confidential company information. On the other hand, for team building events, it’s better to host games and activities, such as rock climbing, BBQ, etc, at an external venue, whereas annual events might be held in large hotels, exhibition centres, museums, sports venues, etc.
Due to the restrictions of the pandemic, more and more companies have developed online corporate activities, and more third-party platforms and businesses have popped up to support this new demand. In the beginning, the company’s online activities were limited to the form of video conferences. Everyone sat in front of the computer screen and stared at the speaker as though listening to an online lecture. Not the most engaging.
Today, there are many online activities. For example, the host organizes interactive projects (quizzes, lotteries, etc) and arranges performances (interactive magic, musicals, etc) through their studio.
Because many businesses have adopted a “hybrid” way of working – where employees are allowed to work either from home or the office – there are now venues that accommodate this new way of working. These events are perfect for companies who have limited offline event options, and struggle with creating meaningful online interactions.
A hybrid venue is a mixture of an offline environment (usually in the employee’s home) and an online one (video conference platform). Comparatively, events that use a hybrid venue are more difficult to organize than a single-venue event. First, the organizer needs to determine the content of the event, prepare the materials needed for the event, and then send it to the employees. The host will lead the interaction on the day of the event. Because the preparation process is relatively complicated, we recommend that the company finds a third-party event planning company to organize and execute.
Hybrid venues emphasize employee participation. Companies can find external agencies to provide different kinds of workshops, such as cooking, cocktail making, and arts and crafts.
How to increase event participation
Before you decide to invest the resources needed to organize the event, your team should already have the basic idea of the event in mind. Since your company will devotes human and financial resources to organize events, ideally, all relevant employees are expected to attend. However, one thing to accept as an organizer is that not all employees are willing, or able, to participate in company activities. So what can be done to improve your chances of event participation? Here are a few tips that we’ve found help:
- Send surveys before and after the event
Surveys are a quick and easy way to engage your employees during the planning stage of the event. We recommend involving your employees during the ideation stage of the event to get an understanding of what your employees would enjoy doing during the event. Once the event has concluded, a survey will help you identify what went well, and points of improvement for the next event.
- Organize events during work hours
Put yourself in your employees’ shoes: when you finish 8 hours of work, you have likely exhausted most of your mental and physical energy for the day. You need time to yourself or for your life outside of work to recharge. If it’s possible to organize training, team-building, or other company-related activities, during work hours you will likely find more people attending your events with more energy and enthusiasm.
- Understand your employees’ expectations
When deciding which type of event to host, it’s a good idea to ask for ideas and inspiration from the employees themselves. You should also collect specific information from employees, for example, dietary restrictions if food will be served. Or the number of employees who are drinkers versus non-drinkers. If there are any disabled employees, find out how to make as much of the event accessible to them as well.
- Give as much information as possible
Different events have different purposes, and the company needs to ensure that the organized events meet the purpose of the event. Secondly, when inviting employees, the event must be clearly started. If there is an event program or agenda, it should be included in the invite. Sharing the highlights of the event ahead of time will help your employees get excited about the event and give them something to look forward to in the meanwhile.
Octagon Professionals helps businesses improve talent retention
As an experienced HR solution provider, our senior HR consultants provide companies with employee care strategies to help companies increase employee engagement and enhance their ability to retain talent. Throughout the pandemic, Octagon Professionals has arranged events of all kinds, offline, online, and hybrid events, in order to keep teams together during these difficult times. If you would like to learn more about how a collaboration with Octagon Professionals can improve your ability to retain talent, send a message to our human resources consultants.
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