After two long years, the world is slowly, but finally, getting back to business in person. Remote teams have been connected virtually for so long that it feels surreal to step back into the office.
Moreover, getting called back into the office can be an adjustment to your employees’ work-life balance, motivation, and overall mental health. So, while organizations readjust themselves to working onsite, it’s time for HR teams to refresh their corporate event planning.
Corporate Events Matter Now More Than Ever
While we all enjoyed the virtual happy hours and online team activities, nothing beats the feeling of shaking hands with your teammates in person. Your remote teams are not only excited to see each but have higher expectations for in-person corporate events after going so long without them.
Be it a summer office party, the annual townhall, trainings, or even companywide sales kickoffs, your employees expect the best mix of venue, technology, and safety management at these events.
Your corporate events will also shape how your teams feel about the work environment now that they’re back in person. These meetings and events must be energizing, motivating, and a path to reconnecting old colleagues and reigniting a sense of teamwork. This could directly boost employee engagement, retention rates, and your overall business goals.
But how do you plan a corporate event that’s tech-savvy, has the perfect venue, boosts employee morale, and presents your teams with the necessary information to face the upcoming year with renewed optimism?
We’ve got a checklist for you!
5 Tips for Hosting In-Person Corporate Events
1. Find the Perfect Corporate Event Venue
The race to find “the perfect venue” can be stressful today. You need to compare multiple spaces, check for competitive pricing, ensure your technology and safety requirements are met, and lock in the perfect venue before it’s booked by someone else.
From hosting a large townhall to a small office party, no two in-person events are alike. But the latest venue sourcing tools in the market can help you solve part of the problem! These venue sourcing solutions can help you streamline your RFP processes, ensure compliance with safety guidelines, inform your future strategies with insightful event data, and create brand new experiences for your attendees.
Whether you’re booking travel for your firm’s business events or need conference rooms around the world for a stakeholder meeting, these venue sourcing solutions can help you manage the entire sourcing process from start to finish.
Here are some quick things to keep in mind while sourcing your venue:
- Ensure your desired space is tech-savvy and is flexible enough to support your A/V requirements.
- Design a seating layout. Think about camera placements, social distancing, and audience comfort!
- Keep your A/V partner in the loop during conversations with your venue host.
- Confirm that the venue can support contactless check-in to ensure maximum safety for your attendees.
2. Weed Out the “Boring” From Your Content
Once you’ve pinned down the venue, you’ll need to consider the content you’ll present. During an annual companywide event or an internal conference, your leadership might want to push out as much information as possible.
And while it is important to make the most of having your attendees’ undivided attention, always try to keep the presentations short and compelling. Plan the presentations so that the content stays relevant, delivers maximum value, and doesn’t get lost in translation (or boredom).
Here are 5 ways to avoid death by PowerPoint:
- Understand how your audience will consume the content and choose your content delivery strategy accordingly.
- Capture your content through in-house video production or an A/V partner. Ensure that the venue has good lighting, audio, and video setup to capture the event as well.
- Loop in your content agency early on for design requirements.
- If you’d like to live stream your event for remote teams, get your streaming provider adding to the conversation!
Once all content is planned, simplify how your audience will find and engage with it the day of your event and beyond. Choosing the right event technology platform is crucial here if you want a single, cohesive global content hub that can customize content delivery for different teams, roles, and regions.
3. Make Memories Through Your Event
At the end of the day, your corporate event must be fun to attend for everyone. After a long hiatus from in-person connections, your employees are both anxious and eager to see the workplace get back to “normal.” Aim for your event to help them ease back into routine and show them what they’d missed out on!
It’s important that you don’t just send passive invitations for the event. Make an in-person announcement and reveal some fun activities that may follow! It could be anything from happy hour, cocktails, Q/A sessions, gamification, fun workshops, etc.
Don’t forget to choose an event technology platform that offers interactive features like polling, live chat, and Q&A so your remote teams can interact in real-time at your event.
4. Bring in Your Event Technology Partner Early On
Imagine your event is about to begin, but your speaker is stuck in traffic, and you need to move the agenda. How do you communicate the change to your audience in real-time when they’re spread all over the venue? How do you switch speakers on the spot?
This is where mobile event apps that send live notifications can save the day! Bringing in an experienced event technology partner will take a huge weight off your shoulders so you can focus on the experience side of the event. Bring them into conversations with your venue for easy collaboration and a smoother experience, as well.
Another important area is ensuring rich production value. Without good lighting, sound, and A/V equipment, your audience will be strained, and their interest will fade easily.
While your venue may ensure the quality of equipment, bringing in an in-person event technology platform will ensure that tech and production are in sync with the overall event structure.
5. Track Insights from Your Event
Any internal event, be it an annual companywide, a sales kickoff, or an office Christmas party, is a financial investment. While receiving excellent feedback from word-of-mouth is exciting, collecting concrete feedback is crucial from an HR point of view. Collecting and presenting the ROI from your event is at the crux of your investment and needs to be planned beforehand.
Leverage engagement tracking and scoring to track a combination of data points to keep a pulse on what’s happening at your event and ultimately measure ROI. Here, you can track your audience’s journey throughout the event and know which employees are engaging the most with which content.
This can also help in creating strategies for employee success and retention. Are the teams who are the most engaged at your event the teams who consistently achieve and exceed targets? Do the employees the least engaged at your companywide attrit the most? These insights will help you understand your internal events' impact on your overall business performance and how you can improve on various factors.
It's also important to take stock of what worked well and what could have been improved. Tracking that feedback can help immensely when planning and hosting your next in-person event.
Always Be Prepared for Emergencies
While throwing an engaging internal event could be overwhelming or stressful, you don’t have to do it all by yourself! Technology is meant to enhance your overall event experience and be your best bet against disruption or outage.
But don’t just select the event technology partner that’s all the buzz at the moment – take your time, and find a corporate events technology partner that specifically serves your purpose and adds value to your events. And remember, even the best-planned events can go haywire due to unforeseeable circumstances, so always have a Plan B up your sleeve to quickly switch gears and go virtual if needed!