Promoting a work event is often a little tricky. You want to motivate employees to join without having to take measures like mandatory attendance. But trying to get everyone excited and enthusiastic isn’t always that straightforward, so it usually requires a few different strategies.
How you promote your team event for employee engagement very much depends on the company itself and the kind of culture it has. For example, if your company is small and colleagues are somewhat casual with one another, using very formal language around the event may put them off.
On the other hand, if your company is larger with a more formal company culture, you want the event language to reflect. Another factor that plays a major role in how you promote the event is the communication style. You may need to rely more on tools like emails and Slack messages to get the word out about your event for fully remote teams. For hybrid workplaces, it will likely be a mix of promotional materials like flyers around the office plus some emails and messages as reminders.
Ultimately, successful event planning is about tailoring your promotional materials to match up with company culture and team sizes to ensure you’re getting the message across without being overbearing. The best approach for promoting team building events is to plan ahead to maximize event attendance.
Event organizers can craft a few different strategies to remind attendees about the event the day or the week before, but it’s crucial to start early for them to be effective. In fact, a recent study by Markletic found that most planners need between 3-6 weeks to create engagement for small virtual events successfully.
Creating a timeline for the event, including the types of information that need to be shared and when can help keep event planning running smoothly. A clear timeline with materials designed beforehand also supports the process and organization. Event planning teams know what materials need to go out. We’ll explore some of the essential elements to have in place when bringing people together for events and how these measures can increase employee engagement.
Perfect for: Large events or workplaces when you need to ship materials to participants.
When this should be used: At least a month before the event.
Event registration is an incredibly useful tool for gauging interest and motivation for any event and helps with planning efforts. You can incorporate event registration into the process when making initial announcements to get a sense of how excited everyone is for the event.
If event registration is on the lower side, then you can start ramping up promotion and see what difference it makes. Because the event registration is the first touchpoint in the process, it’s crucial to make it as seamless as possible for employees to sign up. Many excellent event registration platforms help you coordinate your event and track who’s attending.
Make sure to remind team members to register if they plan to go and explain why you need them to register. For example, you can say that event registration is vital to know what kind of resources will be required to help the event go smoothly. Or, if there is food and drink involved in the event, you can ask attendees to register their interest to ensure you’re ordering enough for everyone. This kind of reasoning works well for both large and small teams since it encourages them to decide sooner rather than later because they know someone is waiting for an answer on the other end.
Event registration is handy for coordination since you’ll have everyone’s contact information in one place. You can send out event details, updates, and periodic reminders based on headcount and see how it changes. Simple details like adding a calendar invite to event information emails can boost event attendance. That way, it’s easier for employees to add to their own calendars and send reminders accordingly.
Bring Work Leaders On Board
Perfect for: Any size workplace when you’re bringing multiple teams together.
When this should be used: At least a week before the event.
Having work leaders and team managers on board can significantly help boost employee engagement for team events. Of course, getting their sign-off and buy-in is the first step, but the more team leaders are visibly involved, the more employees are likely to go to the next team event.
One way to accomplish this is by designating team managers and higher-ups as the team spokesperson. So whether it’s an ice cream social in the break room, a large board game night organized for larger teams, or a fun scavenger hunt, having work leaders take more of an active role helps drive employee engagement. Measures like these also show that each event has significance and that it’s not just the employee’s responsibility to attend.
Event organizers can coordinate with team leads and other stakeholders to share event details and the date so that teams know that the event is a joint effort and signify its importance to employees. Event organizers and team leads can also work together to reduce barriers employees might face, such as clearing meetings during that time or navigating heavy deadlines to ensure team attendance.
You can ask work leaders to share information and reminders during team meetings and standups for an additional push. If common questions or concerns are coming up, ask team leads to let you know as soon as possible so you can address them in promotional materials to ensure everyone has the same amount of information.
Make the Incentive Clear
Perfect for: Any size event.
When this should be used: Throughout your event promotion.
In 5 Tips for Team Building Attendance, we outlined the importance of offering an incentive to your employees to attend an event. Implementing the incentive means sharing language around what team members will receive as a reward for attending the event, which encourages people to go since there is something tangible coming out of attending the event and clear benefits. Incorporating language around the incentive might be as simple as reworking the event title to include information that entices people to engage with the communication and attend the event.
For example, if you’re offering a wreath-making event where you hire a professional to teach employees how to design and make their wreath, include that in the event title: “Learn Wreath Making | Bring home a beautiful wreath to hang on your door.” This communicates that employees will learn a new skill with the materials needed and get to bring something home with them. The way the event is titled in promotions can be a simple way to draw employee engagement while also communicating what the event is about, so it’s a win-win.
Even if the event has a less tangible reward, such as escape rooms, you can rework the incentive to attend in the title: Make your escape plan! | Solve a puzzle with your team and win a grand prize!
Making the event title catchy and exciting helps drum up engagement and gives team members a clearer idea of what to expect from the corporate event. It gives employees a lot more information and clarity while also communicating a significant benefit to them if they choose to attend.
Use Digital or Print Promotional Materials
Perfect for: Any size event, tailored to an in-person or remote team.
When this should be used: Start distributing at least one to two months before the event.
Don’t limit event promotions to meetings and the occasional email. Digital or print promotional materials help drive employee engagement, and it’s a great way to get people’s attention. You can design static flyers or more interactive content to get people excited, and it’s a great way to diversify how you promote team events. Consider creating a promotional schedule before you start designing materials and what you’re trying to accomplish with your messaging.
For example, promotion for large group events and smaller team building activities should ideally start 1-2 months before the event itself. The first set of promotional materials aims to inform team members about the event, including proposed dates/times and why the event is being held (e.g., team building events, bringing smaller teams together, etc.).
The second set of digital or print promotional materials will serve a dual purpose: Inform and remind. You can include information about the event for anyone who might have missed the first blast, remind team members to sign up for the event, block it from their calendar, and give them any updates since the first email.
The following print or digital materials closer to the event time serve more as reminders with occasional updates about the event. For example, you can include headcount updates if you’ve hired a professional for the event in some capacity (e.g., teacher, speaker, music, etc.) and answer any questions that may have come up from employees.
However, it’s important to keep your print and digital materials balanced when promoting your team event. You want everyone to feel like they will have a good time and motivate them…but you don’t want to overwhelm or annoy them either! That’s why it’s crucial to think about the intent of each promotional material as you work on designing communication for the larger company and what you are trying to accomplish. That will help ensure that messaging stays relevant and doesn’t become redundant or repetitive.
Try to keep communication frequency at a medium level rather than constant reminders. Tailoring your print and digital materials based on how close (or far) the event is ensures that you’re providing useful and valuable information each time, which, in turn, encourages people to take more of an active interest in the event.
Also, consider how the print and/or digital materials will be distributed and ways to mitigate any potential barriers that may come up. For example, if teams are coming into the office, you can keep print materials in key areas like break rooms, workspaces, and entrances/exits to ensure multiple touchpoints for information access.
You can use a combination of Slack and email to send digital materials over to remote teams. You can post digital materials with event information on smaller team channels as well as larger team channels. Make sure to pin event information to social channels on Slack to gain more coverage.
If your team is more email-based, then sending periodic digital materials via scheduled emails can easily promote the event. You can also add calendar reminders and event registration information to each email to make it easy for team members to add the event to the calendar and sign up.
Creating an event promotion strategy will help you ensure that communication is valuable and that your efforts are organized and coordinated to generate more interest and increase attendance. Once you settle on an event idea, start setting up the operational part, including event registration and a streamlined sign-up process.
Once that part is ready, you can design some initial print and/or digital materials for the wider team and identify the best ways to communicate the information. If the team is coming into the office regularly, print promotional material might be the best way to go. For remote teams, you may need a multi-pronged approach. Is the team more likely to check emails, or do they mostly use Teams or Slack to communicate? That can help you decide event promotion frequency and the types of materials that need to be designed.
Once you have materials ready, start to brief team leads on the event and ask them to promote the event to their teams. If easier, you can provide the promotional materials you’ve designed to team leaders to distribute. That way, you can keep messaging consistent while also reducing the workload for team leads. For any communication being distributed, highlighting and reinforcing the incentives involved helps increase engagement. It gives employees more motivation around the event and what they will get out of it, thereby increasing their chances of attending.
Hosting successful events isn’t always easy since so many different elements are involved. However, using these tips, you can increase employee engagement for your events and create a successful corporate event that’s fun, exciting, and brings people together! If you would like to host events with increased employee engagement, you can find more tips here on how to increase event attendance.