Corporate events - they’re designed to show employee appreciation and provide opportunities for team bonding, right? Well word on the street is, many of the traditional corporate events have grown a little out of date. Those stuffy office gatherings in the break room just aren’t cutting it anymore. Even ideas like catered lunches are an average expected perk for most modern businesses.
The corporate events that really make an impression on employees are the ones that go above and beyond, and truly take into consideration what the team members value and how they feel seen and appreciated. Does your company care about an employees life outside of work? Do they care about furthering education and career skills? What about health and wellness? Or art and culture? When businesses view their employees as the complete, balanced human beings that they are, everyone wins. Corporate events targeted around the previously mentioned areas are important to a healthy, high-functioning team.
These days, company culture and employee appreciation is more important than ever. In nearly every study involving employee retention, engagement, and satisfaction, reports are showing that feeling valued as an employee is critical. While there are many ways to let an employee know they are valued and appreciated, a well-thought out corporate event or series of events shows that you put your time, money, and effort into creating an experience that will benefit your employees.
But where is the true benefit for the employer? Studies have shown that companies that foster a strong company culture have less employee turnover, more engaged employees, efficiency increases, and better public reputation. All of those factors ultimately help a business save and make more money! Corporate events in particular are excellent for company publicity as content from the corporate events can be shared via the business’ marketing and communications channels, and possibly include client or media guests.
As more and more millennials become leaders in business, there’s been a notable shift in the themes of corporate events! Many big companies are beginning to offer creative, large-scale corporate events that focus on team building, adventure, health and wellness, the arts, or sports, among other types of events!
If the ideas above seem a bit extreme for the budget you had in mind for your next corporate event, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to make your event memorable without breaking the bank. It all comes down to focusing on the details and taking extra time to add personal touches. Here are a few ideas that are free or low-cost that can add a little something extra to your next corporate event.
1. Host an Office Sports Tournament
Host a weekend sports tournament for your employees and their families! Find a public park with plenty of space and organize games of volleyball, kickball, frisbee, or any other outdoor activity your crew enjoys. You can also have a potluck barbeque afterwards!
2. Low-Key Company Retreats
Wish you could splurge on a weekend-long getaway for your corporate event? While you may have to modify your plans a bit (read: not fly the whole team to Colorado), there are still great ways to make this happen! See if a friend or colleague with a great home is willing to loan it out to you for a day or weekend, or invest in an Airbnb in your city! You can then plan events on that property and bring folks to an oasis that isn’t too far from home.
3. A Social Media Wall
A fun way to add a little something extra to your corporate event is to set up a social media wall! When your employees use the special hashtag chosen for the event, their social media posts will be added to the feed and projected on the social media wall at the event. You can later collect the photos to include in a company newsletter or team bulletin.
4. Bring a Yoga Teacher to the Office
Instead of paying to rent out a yoga studio, consider inviting a teacher into your office for the afternoon! Many yoga teachers have special group rates and can come to you to help invite a relaxation and rejuvenation into your office space, for less.
5. Dress Up Your Office Space
If you want to host a day-long corporate event but are looking to cut the cost of an event space, consider instead dressing up your office. Is there a way you can rearrange furniture and add a bit of decoration to make the space more inviting and usable for your corporate event? Give it a go!
6. Have a Bring Your Dog to Work Day!
Having a friendly pup around is sure to brighten your everyone in your office’s day! If employees have dogs, invite them to bring them to work for a day. Have treats for both dogs and employees at the ready and schedule a puppy play time to boost spirits.
7. Host Personality and Strengths Tests
For a free or low-cost way to have some fun and build better bonds between team members, consider opting for a company-wide personality and strengths test at your corporate event. Tests like the Myers-Briggs or Enneagram are easy to take and provide insights to an individuals’ personality traits and how they work best with others.
8. Drive-in Movie Nights
Instead of renting out an entire movie theatre, perhaps you could opt for reserving spots at a drive-in movie for your team’s corporate event. Drive-in theaters are often less expensive, and your employees can bring their own snacks and drinks of choice.
9. Let Employees Be Part of the Process
When the budget is limited for a corporate event, often employees will appreciate having a say in how the money will be spent! If there’s only one big event or treat to be had, why not send out a survey to let the team decide together? This will minimize grumbling and let employees have their voice heard.
10. Handwritten, Personalized ‘Thank You’ Notes
The best way to show your employees you care is through genuine words of affirmation that you value their work and contributions to the company. A great way to do this is through personalized, handwritten notes. These can be included in a gift bag, handed out after a performance review, or given to employees at the end of a corporate event.
Here’s to upgrading your next corporate event! Is there a great idea your business has discovered? Let us know in the comments below!