Exceptional corporate event planning requires much more than just the event logistics. Creatively engaging attendees both before and after will help ensure the material that was covered stays in their minds long after they return to their normal work routines. Don’t waste all the effort you made to ignite a spark at your corporate event, follow it up with a solid retention strategy to make sure the learning sticks.
Create Action Items...
You should be doing this as part of every effective meeting, and a corporate event is no exception. Capture action items throughout the event and recap at the end so that all attendees are on the same page when they get back to the office the next day.
...And Follow Up On Them
After an event, employees are often enthusiastic about creating change within the company and implementing the action items you outlined at the corporate event. This enthusiasm will not be enough, they still need a nudge every now and then to stay on track. Create systems for reporting progress, checking in, and measuring success. Build these systems into the regular routine so they become part of the company culture and not just a temporary add-on while the excitement lingers. Try these tools to increase retention after corporate events:
- Online games: challenge the participants to revisit and remember aspects of the event through gamification. Use an online app with specific levels and objectives that align with the event’s theme and reinforces the event’s objectives.
- Feedback reviews: managers should assess direct reports’ performance on the job regularly, to reinforce learned behavior and provide an opportunity to give feedback on their application of the content.
- Webinars: invite the facilitator from your event to run monthly webinars back in the office, to allow participants to review event content and discuss applying their new skills on the job.
Keep Your Messaging On Point
An important part of corporate event planning is defining the objectives of the meeting. These objectives don’t end when the event does: continue to promote the message so it will permeate throughout the business. You know you are successful when other employees start spreading the word for you. If you hear a new hire talking about the importance of customer centricity six months after a corporate event that they didn’t even attend, you know that your message has gained traction in the organization.
Don’t Let Leadership Off the Hook
Everybody is busy, and this is especially true of executives. However, it is crucial that company leaders continue to stay engaged after a corporate event. When employees see their managers and other leaders demonstrating the skills and behaviors that were introduced at a corporate event, they are more likely to embrace them. On the other hand, if everybody goes back to business as usual within weeks of the event, you will not see the long-term changes you are striving to achieve.
Submit Those Reports
Implementing a measurement and reporting process will keep people accountable and allows leadership to track the return on their investment in corporate event planning. Whether your goal is to improve efficiency, customer satisfaction, or management skills, it is important to track progress along the way so you can celebrate the successes and avoid becoming stagnant. Just as hearing employees talk about customer centricity six months after an event indicates your messaging is working on a qualitative level, seeing improved customer satisfaction scores over the same period shows this on a quantitative level, which helps you get buy-in and budget for future events.
You have the power to take corporate event planning to the next level, and there’s no better time to start than right now. If you are in the process of planning a corporate event, do you have a retention strategy in place? If not, create a plan before the event so you can begin implementing it immediately afterwards.