Top Tips for a Top-Notch Employee Event

As we take our businesses into the New Year with aspirations of increased sales and profitability, many of us are asking ourselves how to attract and keep the best employees for our business. This can be a daunting task when it is actually addressed. Many of us don’t even have a specific plan of action to make our business a great place to work.

One of the many ingredients that go into creating that great place is motivating and rewarding your employees. But how do you do it? What’s effective?

From years of working with local businesses to host employee appreciation events here at PeoplesBank Park, I’ve heard (and lived) the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

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I once worked for a company that took us to a corporate retreat where we did some rock climbing, hiking, and trust falls in the woods. I didn’t like it. Some of my co-workers loved it, but some of us were miserable. You have to know your team and try to appeal to common interests.

I’ve heard about some company trips to amusement parks where none of the employees actually had the chance to see each other during the entire day. If you don’t like your co-workers, this type of event may sound like music to your ears. If you are a leader trying to foster (but not force) interaction among staff, this probably won’t work for you. You have to create an opportunity for camaraderie to grow, not just an excuse for office friends to bond with office friends.

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Some of my most memorable and enjoyable staff appreciation events included a trip to a day game to see the Phillies, a pot-luck Halloween lunch with prizes for the best costumes, a crab feast with both staff and our customers, and a bus trip to a sister-company, featuring an incredible speaker and opportunities to meet other professionals in our field. You have to be creative but keep your eye on the goal of your event.

You also have to be constant in pursuing that goal. Some companies have events quarterly or even monthly. That sends a signal to their employees: You are worth the commitment of time and energy.

If that’s your message in 2018 – whether you are a seasoned pro or an employee appreciation event amateur – keep in mind the following tips to create the best events ever in the coming year:

  1. Ask your employees what they like to do. Not everyone will have the same idea of a great employee event, but you can find enough commonalities to make it work. For example, if you find that among your employees dancing, music, competition, and eating are in the mix, you can plan an event that incorporates all of the above. There will be something for everyone.
  2. Make a plan. Don’t wing it. The best way to do this is to form a committee. This could be your fun committee!
  3. Don’t force it. Nobody likes to be required to have fun. The event should be optional but cool enough that your folks won’t want to miss out.
  4. Make your event as inclusive as possible. If you are planning to take your team on a hiking trip, consider your staff who may be physically challenged or embarrassed if they are unable to participate.
  5. What if your employees found themselves asking year in and year out, “What will they think of next?” Use your fun committee and the feedback of your staff to think outside the box. How about a talent contest with prizes, music, and food? How about a Pictionary challenge over beer, wine, and great food at a fun venue?
  6. Share your fun with the world. Don’t keep it a secret. Take pictures of your event and share them through your company channels as well as through social media. Your competitors, customers, and potential future hires will take notice!
  7. Just do it! This is the year, not next year. Now is the time. Put in in your budget, commit to it, and do it.

-Nate Tile, Vice President of Business Development

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