Internal events are a key component of your company’s total event program. They are crucial in paving your employees’ journey, from sales development and team engagement to building motivation and brand loyalty. Your internal events can also range in complexity, from holiday parties and happy hours to marquee events like global companywide events and annual sales kickoffs (SKO).
Today, as organisations navigate through the pandemic, remote teams have much fewer internal interactions, which may leave your employees feeling disconnected, stressed, or even unproductive. Therefore, your companywide internal events, whether virtual, in-person, or hybrid, have a significant impact on the overall morale and engagement of your teams and help lay the foundation for success in the next business year.
Need for a New Internal Events Strategy
Before we look at how internal events help drive productivity and lower attrition rates, here are three major trends driving apprehension among HR & planners:
- Greater resignation – Many employees felt uncertain about their career paths during the pandemic and are reassessing their career goals.
- Employee engagement – Driving virtual engagement among employees required a quick adoption of virtual tools, but planners must be prepared to leverage the right event technology in the new hybrid world.
- Market uncertainty – The continuation of the pandemic and new variants of COVID-19 – among other circumstances – have left planners wondering how to plan for the uncertainty surrounding their businesses.
As we look forward to 2022, your internal events strategy will play a pivotal role in boosting employee retention, improve engagement within teams, and ensure everyone feels ready for the future.
5 Steps for Planning Hybrid Internal Events
As you plan to kickstart 2022, let’s explore how a hybrid event format – with revamped virtual outreach and in-person engagement strategies – can help deliver a dynamic and energising internal event. Planning for a hybrid event also helps you be prepared with a contingency plan to easily lean more heavily toward the virtual or in-person format should something change during the event. Here is your checklist for planning a successful hybrid internal event in 2022:
1. Market Two Event Experiences
With a hybrid event format, you’re most likely deciding in advance which employees will attend virtually and in person. Your local employees, those who can travel easily, and those who might need a tactile, hands-on experience may be most suited as an in-person audience. On the other hand, global and remote employees, as well as budget and time constraints, might be the deciding factors for your virtual audience. Also, if your content is focussed on showcasing a digital experience, leaning into the virtual event experience may also be helpful.
While your attendees will all experience a single hybrid event, it doesn’t eliminate the need to market your event to both your in-person and virtual audiences. It’s important to bring both audiences together through your event website, registration page, online event platform, content library, live polls, Q&As, and chat.
An easy way to start that process is through seamless event registration using a single registration system that can capture which employees will be attending virtually and in-person and simplify the overall process to have on-demand access to your event later.
2. Partner with Safe and Savvy Venues
Today, it’s crucial to find and partner with a venue that not only ensures a safe event experience but helps you navigate the latest A/V and production needs as well. When choosing a venue for your hybrid companywide event, check these off your list:
- Source a venue that not only provides the required space from a health and safety perspective but is tech-savvy and can pivot according to your A/V requirements.
- Once you’ve pinned down your space, plan your seating layout. Other than social distancing, safety, and audience comfort, think about camera placements and suitable angles to make sure you’re also bringing your virtual audience into the room too.
- Master your A/V plan. Your A/V provider will be essential in planning for the virtual as well as the in-person element of your event. Keep them in the loop during conversations with your venue partner to ensure there is no overlap between setting up the room and setting up A/V tools.
- Leverage contactless technology that helps you leverage e-badges to ensure health and safety of your employees as well as sponsors and exhibitors.
3. Leverage Content Delivery Systems
Next, it’s crucial to leverage the right content delivery strategy to ensure that your message gets across and your audience engages with your content. It will also leave your teams feeling connected to the speakers and ultimately give them actionable insights and motivation to kickstart a new business year.
While planning a hybrid event, it’s important to know when and how your audience can engage with your content to help set up your content production and delivery systems. These decisions will also be driven by your budget and attendee goals. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right A/V partner that understands these goals and can work within your budget.
You also have the option to produce live, pre-recorded, or remotely streamed content depending on how your audience may consume it later, be it live, livestreamed, simulated live, or on-demand. But this doesn’t have to be expensive! Here are the key things to remember while planning for your content production and delivery:
- Capture your content through production or an A/V partner. Ensure that the venue has good lighting, audio, and video setup to capture the event.
- Loop in your content agency for design requirements.
- Get your streaming provider adding to the conversation!
- Understand how your audience will consume the content and choose your online platforms accordingly.
Once your content is ready, the next step is to simplify how your attendees find and engage with it. Create a single, cohesive global experience through the right technology platform. The same platform should also be able to customize content delivery based on employees, roles, regions, or interests. The platform should also have an on-demand library to let your employees refer and help themselves to the content.
4. Build a Community
Foster a sense of community and connection amongst your teams, and make them feel connected to your brand. In a remote setup, your employees are always trying to find ways to connect with each other, so your hybrid event must facilitate these connections despite geographical challenges. For an internal companywide event, these engagement opportunities can be fun and create a deeper sense of connection via live polls, chat, Q&As, gamification, collaborative sessions, one-on-one meetings, etc.
Keep in mind, these connections don’t just have to be passive invitations to connect. You can also have chat discussions that bring like-minded people together to talk about key strategic initiatives for the year. Speed networking also lets your employees meet other teams they’ve never met before and helps them understand their colleagues’ functions, roles, and responsibilities.
5. Track Insights to Measure Event Success
Engagement tracking and scoring is a concept that typically applies to external events to help identify top sales opportunities. However, you can apply the same concept to your companywide internal events. Tracking insights combines all data points to give you a full picture of what’s happening at your event and helps measure ROI.
Using this tactic, you can track your attendees’ journey across the event and understand which employees are engaging the most with which content. This can further be applied while strategising for employee success and retention metrics. Are the sales representatives who are the most engaged at your companywide the same representatives who consistently achieve targets for the year? Do the employees who are the least engaged at your sales kick-off attrit quickly?
These insights will help you understand the impact your internal companywide events have on your overall business performance.
Bring Them All Together
We’re living in a time of uncertainty. With the global pandemic drastically changing the way we work and a wave of virtual fatigue rolling in, it’s common for employees to feel overwhelmed. An effective and well-delivered companywide internal event can help kickstart 2022 in the right direction and can be pivotal to your annual rhythm of business.
To help set your employees up for success this year, ensure your remote and in-person employees can easily register for your companywide event, engage with the content they need, have a sense of community, and are working toward a common business goal.
Watch this webinar to learn more about planning your hybrid companywide internal events in 2022.