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You have been entrusted with organizing a corporate event, and now you are thinking where to start. Do not rush to choose an event agency or book a banquet hall. It’s not enough to gather all the employees and load the tables with food to have a good celebration.
You have to provide for a useful action, i.e. choose a correct objective. Only in that case your event will be beneficial for the company and interesting for the employees.
Objective choice is the first stage of the preparation process. If you know why you are organizing your event, it will become clear to you which objectives you should try achieving, what format to choose for your event and how to assess its effect in the end.
A corporate event without an objective means money wasted
The biggest mistake is to consider corporate events merely as entertaining parties, which don’t need any objectives or organizing. As a result, the company’s event boil down to “ticking the boxes”, and naturally, there’ could be no positive effect from them. They turn either into drunken antics, or into boring official meetings, which the employees visit only because they are afraid they’ll get fired otherwise.
Understanding your objective will help you organize the event’s program is a way that will engage the guests, help them rise to the occasion. If the management understands the event’s objective, they will attend it, therefore, your employees will get a chance to communicate with their seniors and make an impression. That’s why the employees get motivation and willingness to participate in corporate events.
A real life story #1: No objective — no party
The HR director in the company X once noticed that their competitors hold corporate events each year for every major holiday. She decided that their company should also celebrate the March 8. They booked a cafe, found a host, bought a lot of food and alcohol. What else do you need to bring the co-workers closer together, right? However, the attendees were not entertained by the host’s jokes, they felt bored, but were too afraid to leave early.
As a result, two of the guests drank too much, another two had a hostile exchange that nearly turned into a fight, and the director had to take care of delivering drunk people back to their homes.
Poster to the “Corporate party” (a Russian movie)
What objective to choose
You choose an objective according to the company’s needs. Usually, corporate events are organized to:
- help the new employees feel themselves at home (that is pertinent if there have been global staff changes, and there are many newcomers);
- award employees for jobs well done, celebrate the end of a reporting period or a major project);
- improve the staff loyalty, form a positive emotional capital; motivate the employees to do their jobs better;
- bring the staff closer together, teach them to solve problems as a team; resolve conflicts between the employees;
- evaluate the employees, decide who is going to be a candidate for promotion, form a team for a new project; get the staff of various departments to know each other;
- inform the staff of new developments in the company’s operations: the new mission or anthem, rebranding, or a corporate merger;
- attract potential new employees from the outside (via the event’s external promotion, current employees’ reviews in social networks and third party forums).
Corporate event don’t have to be targeted to employees only; you can hold them to improve your partners’ loyalty, or to demonstrate your company’s success.
The ways to achieve your objective
There are three main problems you have to solve to achieve your corporate event’s objective:
- Choose the event’s format and idea.
- Organize the event in the best way, without overlooking anything.
- Understand how to assess the event’s effect post-factum.
The algorithm for choosing the event’s format is simple: keeping in mind the objective, we develop a program, which would be the most helpful in achieving that.
To bring your staff closer together
If you want to strengthen the corporate spirit, adapt the new employees or solve some other staff-related issue, you would be better off choosing team games, or other formats where you only achieve results through team effort. An example would be a dramatic stage performance: while getting ready for it, the employees have an opportunity to work together for a long time, and a successful performance brings them the feeling of involvement, making them share positive emotions with each other. The team spirit is also formed at socially-oriented events, for example, during corporate working Saturdays.
To involve and motivate
The highest level of involvement is achieved through quests and creative events, including master classes, which require creating something with one’s own hands. You can involve your staff through charity, for example, by collectively bringing gifts to orphanages or seniors’ homes.
You can make any idea work, you just have to remember that the more actively your employees participate in the event, the higher their involvement is.
Banquets and buffets with interesting show programs are a good way to stimulate your employees, but you have to think about how to entertain your guests so that they don’t get bored. Competitions and best employees’ awards are among other options. For example at an annual corporate event, you could give awards to the best employees, or announce that they are getting bonuses. The competitions are held some time before the event, while the event itself involves announcing the winner.
If you have several multilateral objectives, the best option would be an away trip accompanied by a buffet dinner. This format is the best for managers, because it can be used to solve the largest number of issues.
A real life story #2: A wrong choice of format might ruin your event
A new manager of the company Y decided to organize a corporate sports quest for his department. However, a lot of his employees were of the age when rigorous exercise is not advisable: the program has not taken the staff parameters into account.
As a result, a significant number of guests were simply bored, with nothing to do but watch the competition. For such cases, more intellectual entertainment types, i.e. master classes, are preferable.
Efficiency: think of the KPIs during the preparation stage
After the event is over, it’s important to assess its results. To do that, you have to understand, what parameters should serve as benchmarks.
— KPI, NPC, EEI, ROI, EAE?
The level of the event’s organization: how many people attended, did everyone left satisfied, how smoothly the event went, etc. Organizational efficiency is evaluated through NPC - the consumer loyalty index.
It is calculated as a share of employees loyal to the event minus the number of employee with negative attitude. To assess the employees’ attitudes, make them fill in questionnaires right after the event. The answers should be anonymous, that way you will get more honest answers.
To what extent have your objectives been achieved? Marketing efficiency is calculated via three indexes:
1. EEI - the employees’ engagement index
That means the share of engaged workers, who are eager to work for the company, characterizing the company positively in their communications with their colleagues and making an extra effort in their jobs. The employees’ feeling that they are valuable to the company is important for their engagement. Corporate events are one of the ways to show employees that they are valuable to the company. They also help demonstrate the employer’s value, allowing the employer to inform everyone about the company’s market position, achievements and plans.
How to calculate the engagement index? There are several ways to do that. The Q12 engagement test is the most popular.About the engagement test (Russian)
There are some methods, which are more complex; they require developing several questionnaires, and are hard to use in practice.
2. ROI - the return on investment
This index can be only assessed long term. If the employees are loyal to their company, they are unwilling to leave for other employees, the staff turnover, as well as recruiting and training costs are lower. Besides, the loyal employees work better, bringing more revenue to the company.
The ROI is calculated according to the following formula:
It is virtually impossible to calculate the ROI after just one event, because it is not directly related to sales. However, if you hold corporate events regularly, eventually you will be able to track the relationship between the events’ effectiveness and the income gain.
3. EAI - employer’s attractiveness index
A strong brand attract valuable human capital. By promoting your events, you might attract potential employees.
There are two ways to calculate the EAI: special questionnaires for employees and special questionnaires for potential employees to assess their attitude toward your company. The questionnaires are designed by HR professionals, taking into account the specifics of the company’s operations and its market position.
Holding corporate events regularly helps creating a corporate culture, improving the company’s psychological climate, systemically motivates the employees.
M - Motivation
Defining an objective for your event is the first step to its success.
- A clear objective helps decide the format and choose the idea for the event.
- Based on your objective, you will be able to understand, which effectiveness criteria are important for your company.
- An objective will help you avoid the chaos that reigns at events held without a defining idea and professional outside management.
- An objective will allow you to organize your event in a way that brings the desired emotional experience to your employees.
- A rational event structure helps you achieve your objectives; if there’s no structure, you will simply waste your company’s money.
Should you organize your event on your own, or entrust that to an event agency? The answer to that question depends on how many persons are going to participate in the event, and how complex the event structure is.
If your event involves 20-30 people and is held in your office or a cafe, you will probably be able to develop and organize it on your own.
If your company has over a hundred employees, if you have to achieve multiple objective, organize a party together with a team building and master classes, only professionals can make such an event go smoothly.
Regardless of which option you choose, the next step of the preparation process would be the budget calculation. From our next article you will learn how to calculate the cost of your corporate event.
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