When you plan a corporate event well, you can provide direction, create actionable steps, and produce measurable results. Conversely, a poorly planned meeting or event is a risky expenditure that is unlikely to provide real value or return on investment. This makes many companies cautious about the inherent expenses involved in hosting such an event -- and your budgeting prowess more important than ever.
Strategy and creativity are the necessary ingredients for planning the best possible event within your budget that satisfies your goals. It’s a tough task, but there are steps and considerations you can take to achieve your training event goals. You can deliver the most impact per dollar spent by taking these suggestions into account:
Consider the message: What is the purpose of the event? Employee appreciation? New technology or system implementation? Consider the reason for the gathering when planning out the agenda.
Focus on practical costs: Travel, food, and entertainment are usually the most flexible expenses and the less detrimental to effecting the event message if cuts are needed.
Remember your corporate objectives: Speakers, breakouts, and learning events are outcome-critical and should take precedence over less relevant expenses. Ask yourself: How can the event provide the best value to our company?
Determine how the budget will be administered and by whom: The most effective method is to assign budget ownership to one person who will track expenses and income, review variances, and research discrepancies.
Develop A/V strategy ahead of time: If only some sessions use A/V, conduct all of these sessions in the same room to reduce rental and setup charges.
Finally, don’t forget to measure your event’s return on investment (ROI). The best way to measure ROI is to clearly define what you would like to measure against and to take a measurement both pre-event and post-event. Business measures you’ll want to track and share with your stakeholders can include:
Rate of Improvement
When you’re investing in a training event, one goal is to produce change. For example, after customer service training, you would expect customers to report better interactions after the training than before; after sales training, you would expect to see sales performance improve. In these cases, you should also tie the qualitative idea of “improvement” back to business metrics as much as possible. Improvements in length of customer retention, average purchase size, or percentage of sales opportunities won may be tracked back to training efforts.
Retention of Training
Immediately after your event, you expect improvements - but how will they last over time? Tracking how well contributors retain the lessons they’ve learned is a critical area from which you can show ROI. Furthermore, when your corporate event includes a training method that improves retention over standard keynote speakers or lectures, it will be easier to get budget buy in.
Measuring how employees feel about the training events they attend and how they feel about the organization are two ways to show a return on your training event. When team members feel valued, they’re more likely to stay with your company for longer, which means managers and HR teams don’t spend their time and money recruiting for open positions.
Finally, by tracking ROI, in good times and bad, you can avoid unexpected scrutiny that might catch you off-guard during tough times.
Keep in mind, budget management is essential for successfully managing corporate events. It helps you think and plan ahead and be prepared for unforeseen changes in the planning and execution of your event. Finally, by carefully allocating your corporate training dollars, you can make a significant difference on event-goers’ and stakeholders’ satisfaction.