As businesses try to balance different working styles like remote, hybrid, and in the office, it’s become more important than ever to keep employees engaged and connected. One of the best ways to do that is through employee events. As teams grow and evolve, feeling connected to one another on a more personal level is important, and company events help accomplish that.
Whether it’s large events for the company or smaller team-building activities, company events are about having a good time and helping employees feel more connected to their work.
And the truth is, employee engagement matters, and it can have more of an impact than you think in the workplace. Current statistics show that √, which can significantly affect well-being at work and productivity in the long run.
Running different kinds of events, including team-building activities like craft workshops, sports, and interest-based clubs, are just some ways to help facilitate team bonding. That’s where employee events provide the most value and where they can create a real difference. However, businesses often have a challenges when encouraging employees to attend. Here’s how to increase event attendance and help employees feel more connected with one another.
Create an engaging event.
An engaging event equals engaged employees.
One of the primary reasons employees don’t engage with events is that they don’t find them meaningful or relevant. If the suggested activities and events don’t resonate, or it’s not something they’re interested in, attendance just won’t be that high. That’s why before planning company events, doing a little research can go a long way.
Think about what kind of activities your employees have enjoyed in the past to start your planning process. Also, consider what would be meaningful to them and what kind of interests and hobbies they’ve talked about in the past. Getting input, such as crowdsourcing team ideas or taking your options to a vote, is a great way to keep employees involved right from the start and make them feel like they have a say in event planning. Depending on the ideas coming in, you can create a running list of different activities for the season and make a (tentative) social calendar for the year to keep things organized and plan communication around.
Another way to engage employees from the very beginning is to offer a tangible incentive such as food, snacks, or an event where they get to take something home after, such as something craft-based or food-based. Once you’ve picked out what type of event works best for your team, try to personalize as much as possible. Research highlights that 34% of employees don’t think they have enough social interaction with their colleagues, and making an event feel personal and meaningful reinforces the importance of making a connection from the very beginning. Some ways you can personalize your event is through a handwritten note or a company product, by aligning with your corporate culture you can set the right tone for employee engagement from the very beginning.
Make events easy to attend
Lower the barriers to attendance.
A large part of the event planning process should focus on making the event simple for employees to attend. This might mean employing a few different strategies to ensure that the event’s sign-up process is as straightforward as possible. Creating a frictionless end-to-end event is critical because it reduces the chances of participants backing out of the activity.
It’s also important to think about the timing of the event and how that affects attendance and engagement. A simple change, like hosting an event during working hours versus after hours, can make a big difference in attendance and engagement. Employees don’t have to carve out their personal time to attend, and the event can be a nice break from the workday that they might appreciate more. When planning events, another point to bear in mind is to consider workloads and deadlines. Make sure to work with team leads to identify any no-go times, such as when big projects or submissions are going on, as that may end up stressing team members out more. Planning an event for after that period that’s easy to sign up and attend can be an excellent way to acknowledge the work the team has put in and provide some kind of perk or reward that’s timed accordingly.
Another way to reduce barriers to the event is to anticipate needs and plan ahead as much as you can. Taking care of materials beforehand, such as shipping items out to employees ahead of a remote meeting, is one example of a strategy you can use. Rather than making them purchase items or go out of their way, it’s a convenient solution that encourages attendance for team-building activities since they already have everything they need.
Another strategy you could employ is to use an end-to-end event service that takes care of booking and hosting team events, like CraftJam, rather than trying to organize a large corporate event or team bonding activity on your own. We offer a turnkey solution to virtual team events to make it easy for team members to join virtual and in-person craft workshops that are fun, easy, and promote wellbeing in the workplace.
Announce your event
And tell them about it as early and as often as possible
Once your event is planned and ready, publicizing it is the next step! Making information available across different channels about the event increases the likelyhood for employees to attend. To ensure higher employee engagement, make sure you incorporate a blend of communication methods to reach as many employees as possible. Make sure to announce your event as early as possible to give people advanced notice, and ask teams to block times in their calendar to prevent any last-minute scheduling conflicts.
To make communications easier, you can also come up with a rough plan for announcing the event initially and follow-up communication that will go after. For example you could announce the event during a standing meeting or company/team-wide meeting and send an email announcement to all those who might have missed the announcement. You can then follow up with a reminder blast or two before the event and add a calendar invitation for safe measure.
Depending on the size of the event, you can also set up a dedicated communication channel, such as a Slack channel, so that all the information is in one place. This also encourages a little bit of team bonding and engagement ahead of the event since team members can ask questions and have discussions around the event beforehand.
Reward your employees for attending events.
Reward your employees for engaging with company culture by providing an incentive to attend company events. Team building activities are a huge part of company culture and can positively impact employee well-being and mental health. Using incentives helps increase employee engagement in corporate events and rewards that.
Incentives can come in many forms, tangible and intangible, like a friendly competition or public recognition. For example: You could make attendance a game, and for each event that employees or the wider team attends, they collect points or tickets. After a certain amount of events, the team or employee with the most points wins a fun prize at the end as a thank you for their engagement. Or you could do a raffle or lucky dip at some events as a surprise, with small prizes that can be distributed during in-person events or mailed after a virtual event as a token of thanks with a bit of fun.
However, incentives can also take other forms depending on the size of the team, budget, or other considerations. Another incentive can be intangible encouragement, such as highlighting teams and team members that attend company events often, help out behind the scenes, or just general positive recognition helps increase employee engagement.
83% of employees think it’s better to give someone praise than a gift, according to research by OfficeVibe. The statistic highlights the importance of being recognized and highlighted for contributions to the company and its culture. Tying it back to attendance at company events helps employees feel more valued and encourages them to participate more and gain more positive feedback.
Offer more culture-building moments and not simply a one-off event.
Events are best in multiples.
Building a strong company culture needs to be a consistent effort, and team bonding activities and larger company events play a huge role in that process. Corporate events should support company culture instead of being a substitute for it. There are various ways you can start incorporating regular company events as part of the culture and create opportunities for team bonding.
Ideally, the event shouldn’t feel like an obligation but something that employees want to attend and are excited about. One of the ways you could do that is by making company activities a benefit or perk and promoting them to team members. Regularly scheduled events where teams get to feel part of the process and help decide what to do can significantly impact not only employee engagement but also the quality of the engagement.
With a seamless and easy event, it’s not just about showing up but about attending and feeling like you’re part of the event, which is what’s important. That’s where consistency comes in. Making company activities a regular occurrence is important, as is keeping them simple and easy to join. Once that happens, teams begin to associate the events as a place to have fun, and destress from work. This helps create that connection for employees, remote or in-person.
A recent study found that 37% of respondents stated that more personal recognition would encourage them to produce better work more often. Creating exciting and authentic events that are connected with recognizing employee efforts is a great way to recognize hard work.
For larger companies, creating initiatives to learn more about employees and supporting their interests can help with building a more connected company culture. Find out what your employees are excited about and consider creating a club or group around specific activities and give your employees options to choose times and days to meet. Then set a time to participate in one of these groups, such as every Friday. You can offer your office space or volunteer snacks and small food items as part of the incentive.
Culture-building is about striking a balance using events as a tool. Creating smaller activities that help employees connect on a more meaningful level alongside larger company-wide events can help ensure that your company culture is inclusive for everyone. It ensures that everyone has chances to meet and interact on their own terms in different environments, which could help improve overall employee engagement.
Summarizing the Connection Between Event Attendance and Employee Engagement
A well-attended event has a lot of influence in how teams view company culture and their role in it. Event attendance and employee engagement are challenges that businesses of all sizes face, but luckily, there are ways to mitigate issues and create a stronger company culture through regular events to keep employee engagement rates up.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to plan events that resonate with teams and reflect their interests, as that will make attendance far more likely. Once the event is scheduled, removing barriers towards attendance, such as keeping them during working hours rather than after work, are crucial measures that make a significant difference right off the bat. When these measures are coupled with regular announcements and reminders, you can create more buzz around events and build excitement towards them. The anticipation, excitement, and ease of attending the event are important when looking at overall event attendance. Creating that atmosphere makes it much more likely that employees will attend events and feel more connected to one another, and look forward to the event.
To keep the momentum going, incentives are key. Appealing to what teams want and creating relevant incentives is a crucial part of the process. But more than that, company events show teams that this is a part of the culture – not just a one-off event. It shows that you’ve invested in the process of building out company culture and want everyone to have an equal part in doing that.
Company events are a great way to connect with employees and build meaningful connections while still having a good time! As experts of connection, we love seeing team events succeed and get better and better when these strategies are employed, and it’s clear that these kinds of events have an important place in shaping company culture.