10 top tips to make your next employee event hit the mark

If you want your next employee engagement event to pack a punch, you need to rethink how you design and deliver it.  Here are my ten top tips for ensuring that you’re communicating with and inspiring your teams in the right way, at the right time, and get the results you want.

In my last blog post, I wrote about the effect the pandemic has had on our brain’s potential to absorb new information efficiently, and the direct impact this has had on our ability to learn, memorise, be motivated and be inspired.

The consequences in the workplace (and the impact on business growth) could be far-reaching unless employee engagement and internal communications activities are reimagined and adapted accordingly.

With that in mind, here are some practical tips to help ensure your next employee engagement event has impact and your employees’ needs are fully met.

  1. What’s the point?.  Do you want your employees to feel part of a community?  Do you want them to learn certain important pieces of information?  Do they need to feel inspired?  Do they need to feel trust in leadership?  Do they need upskilling?  Start with the answers to these questions, as these are the key factors that will determine how the event is designed and delivered.
  2. Surprise me!.  Our brains are hardwired to crave the unexpected.  Begin your event with a powerful story, or a short film that sets the scene – the best virtual employee events are just like interactive TV shows.  Remember, you don’t need to communicate everything in one go.  The beauty of virtual events is that you can use multimedia tools as part of the lead-up and post-event cascade, all of which will help keep employees motivated and engaged.
  3. What’s in it for me?  What do your people know now and where do you want them to be?  Some of your event might be focused on explaining new information, other parts around developing new skills, or challenging existing habits.  But whatever you do, consider at every point how this relates to your employees’ working lives.  What are the problems are you solving for them?  How are you making it better for them?  Why should they care about what you’re saying?
  4. Mix it up.  Make sure you have lots of different types of content to keep the brain stimulated.  Vary lengths and include content your audience won’t be expecting.  Use different stimulus to constantly catch attention to re-focus people.  Importantly, create a programme which is a balance between the logical, analytical (left side of the brain) and the emotional, energetic and creative (right side of the brain).
  5. Make it interactive.  Virtual does not mean that everyone needs to be passive.  Think about how we watch TV with our families and friends.  It’s a shared experience – we chat, we give opinions, we message our friends.  Offline engagement can be stimulated by online content, so encourage this!  The more people can see their thoughts and contributions being shared, the better – it gives a really good dose of feel-good serotonin.
  6. Create a community.  We are social creatures and crave connection with each other – particularly after months of being separated from family and friends.  Social learning is an effective way of embedding key messages.  Local viewing hubs can help with this – think about how the groups can interact with each other.  Can you set group challenges, tasks or competitions?
  7. Are you having a laugh?  “Humour is one of the most powerful forces an organisation has for building genuine connection, well-being, and intellectual safety among our colleagues”, says Naomi Bagdonas, from the Standford Graduate School of Business.  Humour in employee events works particularly well in transition pieces, as it can help reset the brain for important content, provide a change in pace and prevent cognitive overload.
  8. Good production values are really important.  Your employees have spent a lot of time over the last few months consuming content on Amazon Prime and Netflix – they know what good production looks like.  In particular, a good set design can add movement and dynamism to content – all of which will help to keep people’s brains stimulated.
  9. Know your audience.  Ask your employees directly before your event what they want to hear from you about.  Respond to their concerns, applaud their successes.  People learn more when the content is directly related to their challenges and motivations.  They will feel empowered if you ask them; two-way interaction always leads to higher engagement.
  10. The sum of its parts.  Virtual events play an important role in an integrated employee engagement strategy.  You can use your event to launch something with a bang and help create a sense of community and purpose.  Content that you create at a virtual event can be reused and repurposed to help keep employees focused on important messaging.

Intrigued?  Talk to us if you want your employees to feel valued, connected, respected, motivated and inspired.  Having done this successfully for countless clients over the past 20 years, it’s in our blood.

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