Company events can often be the first item chopped from the budget in an effort to save money.  Some people don’t think company events are necessary and that they would be the least noticeable items to cut. Given the choice to cut the weekly catered lunch, new desk chairs, or a company event, most people believe the company event is the easiest budget item to trim. Need help creating your company event budget?

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Company events are much more than just a chance for employees to gather. Whether you have an annual awards ceremony and dinner, a summer picnic, or a holiday party, it’s much more than just kicking back and letting your hair down. Company events help:

  • Validate your employees
  • Promote creativity
  • Boost company morale
  • Create a better, more focused team

APCO Insight and MMB surveyed 400 small business owners and found that that 96% said meetings yield a positive ROI. Focusing on company events really is an investment. Just like you invest in marketing and recruiting, you should also invest in company events to see numerous positive results.

Every company can benefit from having company events. It doesn’t matter if you’re a large organization or a small start-up or what industry you’re in. Gather your employees for a company event and see these four benefits:

Improve Company Culture

Company events are a great way to highlight the company’s core values and culture. Employees want to work for companies where they feel engaged and empowered. In fact, companies with engaged employees make 2.5 times more than their less-engaged counterparts. Engaged employees are a whopping 87% less likely to leave their companies. It’s definitely worth planning events to keep employees engaged and happy.

Establish Your Culture

Entpreneur.com defines company culture as “A blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals, and myths all companies develop over time.” The culture is sculpted through the day-to-day activities and mindset of the company, but it can be solidified at company events.

What does your company stand for? What are its core values? Put those values into action with a company event. If you say your focus is on loyalty, honesty, dependability, or efficiency, show that to your employees. A corporate culture can be fun, creative, collaborative, supportive, and much more. Words on a poster or in a company motto don’t mean as much as actually showing them through a company event.

Well-planned company events can become part of what your company is known for and play a role in recruiting new employees. People want to work at a place that lives up to its mission statement and makes an effort to reward and validate its employees.

Validate Employees

Company events and award ceremonies can be very effective in validating employees. You can give employees awards for their performance or for how they exemplify the culture and values. Employees receiving the awards will get the recognition they deserve. Plus, they will feel like they are making an impact for the company. These awards will make your employees feel valued and important. That will do wonders for productivity in your office.

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If you’ve had a great quarter or year, celebrate it! Bring in your best clients and employees for a company celebration. Everyone loves to be acknowledged for their work. Celebrating success builds a company’s culture as one that realizes the effort employees put into making it happen. It allows employees to relax, have fun, and know they are valued.

Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and a company event is a great way to celebrate the successes of individual employees, teams, and the company.

Keep Employees Engaged

A Gallup study found that just 13% of employees are engaged at work. There’s a huge difference between engaged and unengaged employees. Unengaged employees show up just to get a paycheck and don’t put real effort into their jobs. Engaged employees are an active part of the company culture. They are excited to come to work and put in their best effort because they feel valued and know the role they play in the company’s success.

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“Events actually are just a part of a larger strategy to help engage employees more in the workplace and make their jobs and the places where they work a more interesting place to be,” said Damon Guidry, Global Event Strategist at Adobe.

Company events help employees feel engaged because they are valued and can see the bigger picture. Instead of just being stuck in their cubicles, they can connect with the rest of the company. They can see the importance of their position and the time and energy that went into the event. Even something as small as a company lunch or picnic can lead to a major boost in engagement.

Team Build

Company events are a great way to bring your team closer together. Team building events can break down walls and barriers in the workplace. Cohesive teams are more productive and creative. Plus, having a friend or strong team at work makes employees more excited to come to work and put their best effort into a project.

Connect Leadership and Employees

There’s often a gap in the workplace between leadership and employees. You can diminish this gap by providing everyone with a place outside of work to get to know each other. Team building activities help employees see their bosses as peers rather than unapproachable authorities. These relationships can work magic in the office.

Instead of being in a high-stress or formal work environment, company events allow employees to connect with their bosses on a human level. In fact, some employees look forward to company events because it’s the only time they can interact with their boss in a more casual environment. 

Company events allow everyone to relax. There’s nothing like seeing the CEO with his kids at the company picnic or relax on the golf course for a company-wide outing. These situations show that leaders are normal and allow them to connect with employees. Instead of worrying about saying the right thing in front of their boss, employees can focus on having fun and seeing leaders in a new light. It goes both ways—leaders can also see employees and understand who they are outside of the office.

Build Relationships

At company events, there isn’t pressure to pitch an idea or make a big sale. Employees can relax and enjoy time building relationships with each other. Talking and spending time together outside the office can be a major boost in teamwork. The bonds employees make at company events transfer back to the office.

Employees sit in neighboring cubicles for 40-plus hours a week, but they might not really know their co-workers. Company events allow the walls to come down. Co-workers can connect in a new way and might find personal similarities with their colleagues they never knew. Company events also bring together employees of all levels from different departments at the company. It’s at a company lunch or party than a finance employee just starting her career can sit next to a vice president of marketing and find common ground. Those connections create a more collaborative and friendly environment at work.

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Motley Fool, which regularly tops the list of best places to work in the country, aims to create an environment where co-workers are friends. It regularly plans events like kayaking trips, cooking classes, and ping pong tournaments to build camaraderie and let employees have a good time together. Even small company events can have a great impact.

Network

Aside from the personal relationships, company events can also be vital for networking. Employees can meet colleagues or customers in person to make real connections. The most effective networking happens in a more relaxed environment where you already have a connection. Instead of suffering through tedious industry networking events, employees can use company events to make connections that can benefit their careers in the long run.

Promote Creativity

Taking a team outside their normal surroundings and putting them into a new environment will force them to think outside the box.

Improve Collaboration

Employees have the opportunity to talk to new people in the company they don’t usually interact within their normal office routine. Because employees are speaking to people in many departments, it can allow them to collaborate. This can spark creativity and new original ideas for the company they can bring back to the office Monday.

Collaborating with other people brings in fresh ideas and helps people think outside the box. When employees interact at company events, they can see things from a different point of view.

Company events also break employees from the cycle of always having to be results-driven. A staggering 75% of employees say they aren’t living up to their creative potential. That’s almost always because they feel the pressure to be productive instead of creative. Hosting a company event shows that the company cares about more than just constantly having your nose to the grindstone. It can help employees see the importance of taking a break and embracing their creative sides.

Get Fresh Ideas

Working in the same environment every day can get repetitive and be a drain on productivity. Just like batteries, humans need to be recharged. That means taking a break, getting a change of pace, and trying something new. Taking a break from work for a company event allows the team to recharge and get fresh ideas.

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Stepping back from a problem provides distance that can open the door for creative thought. Have you ever been stuck on a math problem then gotten up for a break and had the answer come to you? The same holds true with company events. Employees can be stuck on a problem or be in a rut, but the company event can provide the distance and inspiration they need for creativity to strike.

Boost Company Morale

Company events are great for boosting company morale. Celebrations are proven to lead to a boost in positive feelings about the company from employees. Company events can mean the difference between engaged, happy employees and people who feel like they are just a part of the corporate machine.

Reduce Stress

Nearly every job is stressful. Deadlines, feedback, customer demands, and tough bosses can be overwhelming. Company events allow employees to take a break from the stress and relax! As kids, the orange slices and juice boxes at the end of a soccer game were enough to keep you going through the game. The same principle applies to adults. A company event or celebration after a big project or busy season can reduce stress and motivate employees through the tough times.

Glasses company Warby Parker is known for its culture of community and happiness. It has a dedicated team that makes sure there are always events for employees to look forward to. The events build community within the team and help employees reduce stress. It’s led to Warby Parker being one of the most in-demand places to work.

Improve Motivation

When morale is high, employees tend to be more motivated. Therefore, productivity goes through the roof. Happy employees are productive employees. Productive teams are one of the main drivers of success in your business, so this reason is in itself enough to host a company event!

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Think of the times you are most motivated. Is it when you are bogged down with assignments, or when you take a break and come back refreshed and ready to power through your projects? Company events can be that break that eliminates stress and helps improve motivation. Events break up the monotony of work and rejuvenate employees. A conference or company meeting can remind employees how they feel about the company and re-connect them with the purpose and mission. A fun team building activity, party, or dinner can be a break for employees and a chance to relax and spend time with co-workers. All types of company events help with motivation.

Plan a Company Event

A company event isn’t just fluff. It should be an important part of your employee engagement strategy. Well-planned events tie into the company’s culture and can be a powerful way to develop motivated employees who are excited to come to work. You wouldn’t cut other important areas of your budget for internal outreach. Don’t skimp on company events! Company events improve company culture, strengthen teams, promote creativity, and boost morale. 

So get out there, create a company event plan, find what works for your business, and throw a great event. It will definitely get people out of their desks and talking, and that’s a win!

Editor’s Note: This was originally published in February 21, 2014 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

 

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Michelle Kaiser

Author Michelle Kaiser

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