If you’re looking to organise a corporate event, thorough and considerate planning can be the difference between a success and a flop.
‘Corporate event’ is a general term covering a range of experiences taken part in by members of the same company or organisation. The term includes publicity or marketing events with the aim of boosting sales or meeting new clients such as product launches and trade fairs, or internal events such as company parties, gala dinners, award ceremonies, themed evenings (e.g. murder mystery parties) and sport- or challenge-based activities such as kayaking or orienteering (often referred to as ‘team-building activities’).
Internal events can be a great way of celebrating success and boosting morale and cohesiveness, but a lacklustre effort in which little thought has been put into the final result can have the opposite effect by suggesting that the organisers aren’t really concerned whether their employees or colleagues have a good time or not. But with careful thought about the logistics and about your aims in setting up the event, you can avoid such disasters.
Parties (generally occurring in the run-up to Christmas) and special meals are the most common type of corporate event so we will start with them. When choosing the venue, obviously two important factors are cost and accessibility, but also think about the kind of ethos you’d like to encourage within your company and the image you’d like to project. For instance, if you produce traditionally-styled, luxury items, you might like to choose a traditional-looking building to host your party. When planning the event, start by listing all the aspects that will be needed to make sure it runs well (food, drink, table settings entertainment and so on), and factoring them into your overall budget, thus avoiding any last-minute rush or panic.
Team-building activities when handled well can be beneficial in that they make use of important workplace skills such as cooperation and problem-solving in a non-work related environment, but if done badly they can backfire. So much so that in a Vodafone/YouGov survey of 1000 British employees with colleagues, taken in February of this year, although 66% had taken part in team-building activities, 54% of these did not think that doing more would help them work better with their colleagues. Respondents nominated extreme sport activities as the least effective for good team building, followed by trust activities such as being blindfolded and led by colleagues or falling backwards to be caught by others. Activities such as the last two, or those with a high embarrassment factor (some respondents complained at having to take part in bush-tucker trial’ type activities), are perhaps best avoided as they create stress and awkwardness for people, surely negating the whole point of a team-building exercise. But you shouldn’t conclude that you shouldn’t bother with sporting or challenge activities; you just have to go the right way about it. What probably causes the problem here is when organisers try to impose a one-size-fits-all template on individuals by making everyone do the same thing. After all, people don’t all have the same hobbies in their personal lives so they’re unlikely to when in the company of colleagues. If possible, a better approach might be to organise a range of different activities involving smaller groups, thus allowing people to choose which they would like to do.
So whatever form your corporate activity takes, put the effort in early on and it will pay dividends.
Alice Baker writes on behalf of Chillisauce.co.uk, an award winning agency that is recognised for in corporate events planning and team building activities.