No doubt, brainstorming company event ideas is a fun process, but if you want the event to align with your business objectives, it will require more than a 30-minute meeting and a whiteboard to get you there. Use the following process to help you decide which ideas make the most sense for your organization.
Start by Defining Your Goals
The first step in determining which company event ideas will best align with business objectives is to clearly define those objectives. You’re not likely to hit your target if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Before you contact any vendors or start looking for suitable spaces, sit down with key stakeholders to define the goals of the event. Of course, some full-day and multi-day events can have multiple objectives, but you must know what they are before you begin the planning with any guaranteed success.
Some of the most common event goals are:
- Training for new skills or behaviors
- Announcing new initiatives or a new communication strategy
- Celebrating an organizational milestone
- Cultivating the company culture
If your list of event goals includes a training element, you must ensure that the time and resources you spend will go toward supporting organizational objectives. These are different for every company but can include goals such as:
- Improving efficiency in processes
- Breaking down silos between departments
- Developing a culture of innovation
- Building stronger relationships amongst teams
Once you have identified where you ultimately want to be, you can decide which ideas will get you there.
There are countless team-building exercises, lectures, and presentations you can do at a company event, but if your aim is to support business objectives, it may be time to make the change to experiential learning. Experiential learning allows participants to have fun—so much fun, in fact, they often forget they are at a training event—all the while, learning new skills and behaviors that are transferable to their job and will make an impact.
Experiential learning presents an immersive challenge that acts as a metaphor for real-world workplace scenarios. Individuals must work together to solve a puzzle or overcome a challenge, in order to achieve the results they are accountable for. Once the challenge is over, a facilitator will guide a discussion to reflect on their experience and understand not only how to overcome the challenges to win the game but also how to apply the learning at work. Because they had so much fun learning as a group and experienced how success feels during training, individuals leave the training excited and committed to do the same on the job.
Make Sure It’s Not Just a Game
The debrief is critical to the success of experiential learning. Without linking the activity to challenges that participants face in the real world, it is simply a training game. Although experiential learning allows participants to feel like they’re playing a game, it is essential that the content delivered is both useful and relevant to the business objectives.
Achieving the right mix of fun and relevance takes some expertise, which is why many people work with experienced partners to deliver experiential learning. A skilled facilitator is also necessary so that all of the valuable information learned during the event can be successfully linked to the daily reality that employees face.
As you begin to explore company event ideas, start by defining your objectives and measure every option against them. If one of your goals is training, choose the activities that are the likeliest to engage participants and deliver long-term results. Experiential learning can be used to teach almost any type of concept and to support your business goals, so it’s worthwhile to consider it next time you plan a corporate event.