As an owner or manager, it is important to understand the role that internal company events play in supporting employee engagement and morale. These events can range from training and workshops to social activities such as informal cookouts or themed parties.
However, due to the changes of recent years, internal company events need to be organized in a more conscious, creative, and cost-effective way.
"A company event is a strategic tool that contributes to strengthening employee loyalty, customer retention, successful recruitment and employer branding," the International Vice President of UNICEO and President of UNICEO Hungary explains to Connect Magazine. According to Mónika Mantuano, COVID and its aftermath are strongly felt in the corporate event management sector.
While there is a growing sentiment among workers to make remote or flexible work the norm, she notes that in the wake of the pandemic, businesses have had to "re-educate" their staff on the importance of in-person interactions and gatherings.
“Every year, UNICEO announces the "Live Communication Award" in different categories to highlight the strategic role of events and reward the best. This year, for example, we have seen companies organize events with quite large volumes of up to 1,000 people, while there were also events where 80% of the total project was spent on pre-communication only to get as many people as possible to attend the event," she explains.
Internal company events allow employees from different departments and teams to work together on a common goal or activity. This typically creates community involvement and teamwork among colleagues, which can lead to increased morale, motivation and commitment within the organization.
In addition, these types of events provide an opportunity for employees to connect with each other outside of the office environment, which can
fosters a positive work culture, which experts say is beneficial for efficiency, effectiveness and engagement.
When planning internal company events, it is worth considering what types of activities might be most attractive to the team. Social events such as informal, outdoor cookouts or team-building activities are great options as they encourage collaboration between employees while providing a pleasant atmosphere outside the office environment.
In-house live training sessions, online webinars, or even presentations, can also be a great way to learn new skills and keep up to date with industry trends, while bringing colleagues together in an informative environment.
Finally, employees can give back to the community while building relationships with their coworkers through social benefit activities or corporate social responsibility, such as volunteering or fundraising.
"A significant change in the sector is the fact that more and more companies are inviting family members to events as a result of the pandemic. I think this is an important and positive change, as it shows that employers are increasingly looking at their employees as a complex family unit, and employees are often more willing to attend these events with their family members," says Mónika Mantuano.
When organizing any type of event, one of the most important factors is to set clear goals beforehand and know what you want to achieve in the employee engagement crosshairs. We need to plan all the details of the event before it takes place, including the budget.
I believe that the profound changes of recent years mean that
both the tools and the venues need to be much more personalized than before,
taking maximum account of workers' needs," stresses the UNICEO Vice-President.
According to Mónika Mantuano, although online platforms have indeed helped companies to communicate internally in difficult times, the majority of workers still need personal contact. “A regular executive online cafe talk can of course work well, as it can address colleagues at the same time, and its cost-effectiveness and justification are unquestionable. But while good and effective content is the main goal of the online format, with online events it's the visuals and creativity that can attract the right attention,” she adds.
In order to ensure that internal company events are successful in increasing employee engagement, it is important to measure the opinions and feedback of participants.
It is therefore recommended to conduct research after each event, through surveys or interviews, on the extent to which the objectives set have been achieved, such as
participation rates or the popularity of the different activities and programmes.
Finally, of course, with open questions, it is also worth considering whether changes are needed for similar future internal company events.
"To get as many employees as possible to come to the events, it is important to ask them beforehand, because we think it is useless to come up with something very creative and striking if it does not meet the needs of the colleagues", explains Mónika Mantuano, who says that now is a time when employees need to be "re-accustomed" to personal meetings and company events.
Professional association of corporate event organizers
UNICEO (United Networks of International Corporate Events Organizers) is the only international, non-profit association that brings together the key decision-makers responsible for planning and organizing events for leading companies at a global level.
The association is a global network that enables its members to benefit from collective knowledge and to adapt more easily to an ever-changing business environment.
In addition, it is a platform where members can get feedback on practical and developmental experiences in their profession, as well as on current and future challenges.
The organization's president in Hungary believes that the corporate event management sector, wounded as a result of the pandemic, is slow to catch up to the pre-2020 period. In addition, inflation has caused a radical increase in costs for the field. "Today, we need to organize internal corporate events much more consciously, creatively and cost-effectively, and it is worth looking for synergies, even in cooperation with other companies and professional partners," says Mónika Mantuano.