Employees today lead busier lives than ever before. They are striving to advance at work. Juggling work-life balance at home is harder than ever. Today’s workforce is often finding themselves falling into the rut of “going and coming”.

This means that, under normal circumstances, most corporate event announcements are met with a less than enthusiastic employee response. In fact, corporate events serve as a valuable and valued source of internal marketing to the very people responsible for selling your company to your external customers. If done improperly though, these events frequently backfire causing extra stress and resentment.

Have you always wondered what kinds of corporate events can make your employees actually look forward to their arrival? Wouldn’t you rather have your company’s corporate events work for your business goals rather than against them?

Here are five easy things you can start doing today that will add that extra spice to your events. These will help turn your company’s next corporate event into the “event of the season” for employees!

1. Visit a local historic location.

For most employers, a corporate event is a time to treat employees like gold. When each employee leaves your event feeling like the MVP, you know you have achieved the highest goal of any corporate event.

One way to accomplish this mission is to remind employees what a great company they work for. Not every employee gets to work for your company. These workers were hand-selected to work for a company with a rich history and grand tradition.

This is what works so well about actually taking your work group on a field trip to visit a location historic to your company (here are some examples from one major city you can use to brainstorm where to take your own employee group). You can then deliver the compelling story of how the company launched. Discuss  early trials the company overcame. Dive into grand triumphs that propelled the company to modern growth and stability, and the critical impact each employee has on that long-standing legacy.

2. Put on an educational scavenger hunt.

For a really impactful corporate event, you will want to reinforce the principle message in some way. You passing out employee gifts will not get this job done.

Combining carefully chosen gifts together with public recognition of achievement will motivate attendees to dig in and participate fully for the chance to excel and be publicly applauded for doing so.

A scavenger hunt for educational items significant to your company’s story that culminates in a winning team is a great way to reinforce the message that your employees are special and exceptional.

The gifts don’t have to be huge or expensive – an example might be a small branded lapel pin. It is the feeling of recognition that is the real gift to your employees.

3. Work with a local bartender to create unique cocktails.

If you plan to serve adult beverages at your corporate event (which most employees tend to appreciate), consider creating a special drink that can in the future be known as your company’s own special drink.

In this process, if you can forge a relationship with a local bar, brewery or lounge that agrees to serve this special drink on its regular menu in the future, this can further cement your company’s message that your employees are special and exceptional.

4. Host a hackathon, or innovate-athon.

You may be wondering: “What is a hackathon?” Hackathons are time constrained events. They usually span 24-48 hours and employees solve unique challenges by creating new software. Innovate-athons are a great alternative (if your company has less of a tech focus). Both of these traditions have come about as a way to encourage active and ongoing employee innovation.

Hosting a hackathon at your next corporate event is a fabulous method of kicking off a new trend towards employee-led innovation and creativity.

One of the best ways to launch a new hackathon-based tradition is to gather your employees into their regular work groups. However, encourage them to work on something new that could make their daily tasks easier and more productive.

Rewards can range from a set financial bonus to a share of increased sales generated by employee innovation.

Even the U.S. government has seen the potential of employee hackathons to generate tremendous ROI (return on investment) for new digital technology that controls costs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

The prize money was $12,000. The government in turn reaped a cost savings of $125,000 from use of the new innovations – making their return on investment a cool $113,000!

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5. Innovate your corporate events with creative themes.

If the thought of yet another dinner dance or movie night causes your employees to give a collective yawn, it may be high time to let your workers choose their own corporate event themes!

To avoid sitting in the hot seat for choosing between themes, let employees generate the ideas. Place ideas in a suggestion box. Collate ideas & separate into themes. Let the employees vote (this can also encourage idea generators to campaign for their personal choice).

Team-building themes are quite popular right now, and some of the hottest ideas include the following:

– Room escapes
– Trampoline theme parks
– Painting and pottery classes
– Reality chef-type cookoffs
– Mystery dinner theater
– Volunteer days

If you have a very large work group and it isn’t feasible to invite employee suggestions, simply put out a vote for three or four different themes. Let your employees pick.

If two ideas generate similar high numbers of votes, consider splitting your employees into two groups. This permits people to enjoy the themed event they prefer.

As Forbes points out, any company that gets careless about its internal marketing efforts stands to lose valuable employees in short order.

However, those companies that are willing to go out on a limb to encourage feedback, innovation, empowerment, autonomy and honesty can look forward to managing an engaged and invested workforce that knows their value. Such employees will be willing to use their talents for the good of the company.

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About Aaron Chakraborty  ~ A contributing writer and media specialist for the Award Pins for Employees. He regularly produces content for a variety employee motivation and HR Development blogs, based around the transitional challenges which comes with motivating employees and improving employee happiness around the office.

To connect with Aaron leave him a comment.

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