Anyone that has ever been to an employee appreciation event or a company holiday party can identify with being somewhere on a spectrum of boredom or awkwardness at least a few times. A typical set up for a company party usually includes a middle of the road restaurant, a slightly above average food, maybe a few employee recognition awards.
Planning these events can be tricky. You want your employees to have fun away from the routine, but it also seems like a great opportunity to inject few speeches, maybe do a slide presentation or two.
Your employees feel as if they are back in the office (an extra tip – don’t hold the party at your office), in a work meeting. The only difference? A drink in their hand instead of the usual break room- coffee cup.
Let’s check out a few ideas to turn your event into an experience your employees will talk about for a while.
Choosing a venue or location that is right for your corporate event is of paramount importance. No matter what your industry, when picking a venue consider if your employees would prefer a cocktail party at the ballroom in that new hotel in town or they are happy to dance the night away in a trendy venue?
When determining the type of venue that will work for you keep in mind the nnumber of guests; Style of the event; entertainment and catering.
Venues cannot be judged by just visiting their website. Book a site visit and shortlist at least 3 venues before you make a decision. When conducting a site visit make sure you check and understand the services and amenities that are available including menu options, condition of the place and facilities available including wheelchair access, washrooms and accessibility, distance and ease of travel.
2. Food and Setting
Just like you pay careful attention to décor, setting and food when planning your stylish birthday bash or your anniversary party, these items are just as important to set the mood at your company party.
Budget is an important consideration, we get that. But it is just as important not to just cobble together an obligatory event, but really treat your employees.
The setting of your party should reflect the company culture. You can be elegant and simple, rustic and fun, fancy and stylish or any combination of the above, limited only by your imagination. Your food and décor ideas will flow once you have a setting / theme in mind.
Whatever setting fits your style and budget, make sure to provide great food, plenty of appetizers and some alcohol (if appropriate) to smooth over the initial awkwardness.
3. Fun & Friendly activities
An ice breaker or a bit of a friendly competition is a great way to kick off your party and for your guests to get to know each other in a fun and sociable environment. Your employees (and their spouses) will have something other than work to talk about. Your imagination is the limit as to what you can come up with and the activity will largely depend on your audience and company culture. The goal is to have both the participants and spectators involved, engaged and having fun.
No party is complete without entertainment. DJ’s are great to get your guests on the dance floor. But more often than not guests take time to warm up to the music and start dancing. Think creative ways to entertain your guests.Also make sure you have other options for those that particularly do not enjoy dancing. Make sure your entertainment complements the theme and type of event.
5. Choose your Event Planner carefully
Decide how involved you want to be in planning the event and how much time it would take away from your current projects. An event planner’s role can be as major or as small as you need it to be. From just doing all your legwork while you make all the decisions, to providing consultation services, planning, vendor negotiation and overseeing the event on the big day.
Choosing the right event planner is very important to the success of your event, and most importantly, to your peace of mind.
Even before you sit down to interview the event planner, choose one with a proven track record and great testimonials. They should be experienced in working with companies in your industry as well as creating the type of the event you are looking for.
Your planner should also have established relationships with vendors to minimize any miscommunications and have the ability to quickly handle situations when anything goes wrong.
Finally choose an event planner that listens! You need someone that listens to your ideas and your vision and can improve and enhance them based on their experience and knows how to make your event a success!