Planning a corporate event? One of the most challenging aspects of corporate event planning is coming up with an idea. The event theme is the driving force behind every other aspect of an event, from the invitation to the selection of entertainment and food. Before you get busy with any other part of the corporate event planning process, first pin down the goal of the event.
The best corporate event ideas take that business objective — after all, corporate events have business objectives — and use it as the springboard for the event theme and the overall atmosphere of the event.
Getting Down to Business
Corporate events can set the stage for presenting information regarding a company’s upcoming product launch, a new approach to corporate training, or simply for conducting team building exercises in a fun, engaging environment. As a corporate event planner, your first step is to determine the event’s objective.
Is the purpose of this corporate event to reward a sales team for exceeding projections by providing a retreat focused on rest and relaxation? Is the goal to bring employees of two different companies together due to a merger, with the priority resting on connecting people and building relationships? Whether the purpose of the event is business or pleasure or a combination of the two, the right corporate event idea can meet the objective and deliver a successful event.
Work to Be Done? Take It Out of the Office
For many employees, reporting to work every day at the same time, dressed in the same business attire, with the same people, becomes a grind.
While they may enjoy the work itself and their colleagues, the predictability of it all gets old quickly.
Why not mix it up?
Take a corporate meeting to another venue, away from the offices and cubicles. Even if employees must spend the day poring over reports or sitting in meetings, the change in surroundings can be refreshing.
Change the dress code for the event, allowing employees to dress comfortably
If weather and venue permit, schedule part of the event outdoors
Skip the standard meeting sandwich platter and offer an assortment of foods from local restaurants or made-to-order food service stations
Schedule a fun, interactive activity during the mid-afternoon slump
On the last day of the event, and earlier than the usual quitting time; attendees will appreciate getting out of work early
The key to having a productive corporate event is to take employees out of their usual work routine. Changing the attire, location, and overall vibe can change their interactions and re-energize staff, even if they are staring at annual report figures all afternoon.
No Work Today!
Rewarding employees with a fun corporate event should be just that – fun!
For these types of events, look for something more interesting and creative, a change from the standard “golf outing and dinner” routine. If your event is a company-wide event, then your venue will need to be large enough to accommodate all the employees and their mode of transport, if they are traveling individually. Some fun corporate event ideas include:
Company picnic with a cookout featuring fare from local establishments produce from local farms, music, and games, such as corn hole competitions or croquet matches, with both blankets and chairs for seating.
Take it out to the ballgame. Literally! Plan a trip to the ballpark for an early afternoon game, complete with game caps and hot dogs, and bus transportation.
Winery tour and wine making demonstration followed by a picnic lunch outdoors on the grounds for a real day away from the office.
Boat cruise in a nearby harbor or on a slow-moving river, complete with sightseeing commentary and lunch.
For a small group, a jaunt into a nearby major city for a live show and dinner.
Whatever the choice, keep the staff in mind when planning the event. If employees consider this outing just “one more work event” they have to attend, you will have missed the mark.
Keep the employee demographic and the office atmosphere in mind when planning a corporate event of this type.
Pay It Forward Event Ideas
Many companies offer the opportunity for their employees to volunteer for the day through designated charities. Helping others boosts the mood, connects people in working towards a common goal, and reinforces the company’s commitment to philanthropy. Some ideas for charitable corporate events:
Working at a food pantry. Sorting boxes of donated food, scooping cups of white rice into bags, and packing up boxes of crackers for distribution to shelters is rewarding and helps employees forge a bond outside of the office
Helping at a local soup kitchen, cooking meals and filling plates. Standing alongside an executive who is wearing a pair of blue jeans while stirring chili over the stove lets employees see each other in a different light
Serving at a day program for underprivileged children, reading and playing games. It gives everyone a chance to be a kid again while helping others
Adopting a project, such as a house makeover. It gives the opportunity to utilize skills not necessarily put to use at work and encourages bonding
Consider skill-based volunteering, when employees put their professional skills to work for a nonprofit
Taking a group of individuals and trying to forget them into a productive team can be challenging. That is where team building exercises can help. It forces employees to work together to reach a common goal or solve a problem, challenges that they face in the workplace as well. Some fun, engaging team building corporate events include:
Room Escape Games: this idea is increasing in popularity, requiring teamwork, logic, leadership, and patience to escape a locked room using clues, hidden objects, and puzzle solving in search of the key that will unlock the door.
Laser Tag: Adults get to go back to being a kid again, with a good old-fashioned game of laser tag. Adrenaline pumping competition involves strategizing, logic, teamwork, and a good, healthy dose of competition along with a great aerobic workout. It’s a win-win.
Scavenger Hunt: This can be done around a city or in a park or reservation. It can also be conducted in a building if an outdoor venue is not an option. Break employees into groups and set up clues leading to the final destination which includes lunch or dinner. The challenge of searching for clues will require working together to solve puzzles, leadership, and will build camaraderie.