Company Events

Colleen Frislid
Colleen E. Frislid, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Table of Contents

Is your company missing out on great opportunities to raise awareness and build excitement around your brand by not hosting corporate events? The many types and reasons to sponsor such events are all outlined here.

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What Are Company Events?

A company event could be a party, luncheon, dinner, team building event, or any other activity for your company. They are a great opportunity to bring your workforce together to celebrate, engage or build internal relationships.

Why Are Company Events Important?

There are several reasons you may choose to host a company event. A few common reasons are listed here.

  • Employee engagement. Company events should be fun and give employees opportunities to find new purpose in their work, build relationships both internally with coworkers and externally with customers, and motivate continued great work.
  • Celebration. Company events can be used to celebrate the roll-out of new products, internal changes, retirements, promotions, company anniversaries, other special occasions or holidays. They can create a feeling of comradery and lead to higher engagement and company loyalty.
  • Team building. Company events can encourage networking or teambuilding in your workforce. Employees have the opportunity to create new relationships and build on existing relationships. This can help employees feel tied to a greater purpose in their work.
  • Customer experience. You may choose to host a company event in order to bring in new business, engage current customers, invite charitable giving, or announce your company or company changes to the public. The event can bring in new sales, show customers your appreciation and build brand loyalty. An example of a customer-based company event would be a 5k held to raise awareness or funds for a charitable cause your company is passionate about. Another example would be sponsoring an event or purchasing a suite at a sporting event and inviting existing and potential customers to attend.

Types of Company Events

Here are examples of types of company events.

Holiday Parties

There are countless holidays throughout the year you can choose to celebrate with your workforce. You can find inspiration for different holiday parties within Eddy’s HR encyclopedia.

Special Occasions

Employee milestones, such as five, 10, or 25 years with a company, should be acknowledged and celebrated. There are also retirements, employee promotions, birthday parties, and company-based special occasions like the company’s 50th year in business.

Team Building

Team building can be formal or informal and should be scalable for the size of the company or team(s) attending. The purpose of a team-building event is to engage your workforce and give them opportunities to build relationships and network with others in the company. This increases employees’ purpose and connection to the organization. Some examples of team building activities are dinners, luncheons, ropes courses, sporting events, games, outdoor activities or classes to learn new skills.

Product Launches

Rolling out a new product or attending a trade show are great ways to get your product or services in front of potential customers. You could host an event like a party or dinner and invite customers to attend or attend similar events already being hosted by other organizations. Ultimately the goal of a product launch is to raise awareness of your company’s products or services.

Sporting or Charitable Events

You can use different sporting events to raise awareness of your company’s products or services, to bring in new business, to show employee or customer appreciation or to engage with existing customers or employees. An example would be renting a suite at a professional sporting event and inviting people to attend with you. You can also host charitable events or fundraisers for causes that are meaningful to your company, such as a 5k or a dinner with a silent auction.

Conferences

A conference allows your company to connect with a specific audience. Usually, the goal of this type of event is to provide information, networking, or motivation for your target audience. This audience could be internal employees, external stakeholders, or current or potential customers. Conferences typically last at least one full day (although they can be shorter) and usually include different speakers presenting on various topics. Choose a venue that works best for your company’s needs, such as a large conference room, hotel, conference center, or other venue appropriate to the size of your target audience.

Shareholder or Board Meetings

Board meetings and shareholder meetings are great opportunities for executive members to discuss and showcase company performance. Board meetings create opportunities for board members to learn about, deliberate, and make decisions regarding the company’s performance and direction. Shareholder meetings present an opportunity for company members to share their vision and build buy-in with shareholders. These events should be scalable based on the size of your company, the industry, and your number of shareholders.

Ceremonies

Company ceremonies show appreciation and formal recognition of the contributions of your employees or other stakeholders. They should be scalable based on the size and industry of the company and can be either formal or informal. You can include food, beverages, swag, and awards or notes of appreciation to your employees, vendors, suppliers, or customers. Choose a venue based on your needs, such as a conference center or hotel, restaurant, sporting events, or theater.

If your company is remote or has a significant remote workforce, you can still host events virtually with the same impact as in-person events. You can host virtual company meetings, email gift cards or order food delivery for your employees or customers, or host virtual conferences for inspiration.

How To Plan a Company Event

While it may seem daunting to plan a company event, the steps below outline the process and will help you create something great!

Step 1: Determine Objectives

Have a clear image of your goals for the event. First, state the purpose, such as team building, holiday, education, etc, and choose the right type of event for that purpose. For example, if the purpose is education, a conference-style event is best. Next, consider what a successful event looks like. Using the conference example, a successful event maybe 90% employee attendance where they are taught a new process and come away with the ability to complete that new process.

Step 2: Choose Your Audience

The purpose of your event will determine who you want to attend. You may want to focus on employees of a certain department, your entire employee base, leadership, customers, vendors, suppliers, potential customers, or other companies within a particular industry. If you are hosting a product launch, your audience will likely be current or potential customers or industry leaders from the product’s target audience.

Step 3: Form a Budget

Work with the appropriate individuals at your company to develop a budget for your event. Knowing your budget will allow you to appropriately plan and allocate funds.

Step 4: Develop a Timeline

Consider what needs to be done prior to your event, such as choosing a venue, ordering food and beverages, planning activities, sending invitations, collecting data, and preparing materials and seasonal considerations. Pick a realistic date that you could host the event. Some events require more planning than others, so be cognizant of how much time you need. For example, an office-based employee team-building activity will likely require much less time and planning than a customer-involved product launch, while holiday parties vary based on the event and the appropriate time of year.

Step 5: Pick Your Vibe

Your event could have a theme or feeling that you want to convey. For example, you may want something fun and light-hearted to give your employees a break from the day-to-day. Your event may also call for a specific theme if it’s a holiday party or other special occasion. If it’s a conference or board meeting, you may want something more professional and straightforward. Decide how you want to present at the event and continue planning with those goals in mind.

Step 6: Find a Venue

Choose a venue that is appropriate for the event. Often the best venue maybe your company’s workspace. Consider the number of attendees, the target audience and the vibe of the event. For example, a team-building event could take place at a restaurant or your own office, but a conference likely requires a larger venue like a conference center or hotel.

Step 7: Gather Supplies

Once you have a venue, begin to gather supplies. The venue will impact what additional supplies you need as some venues have food and beverage options and others will not. If you need decorations, snacks, furniture, or other supplies, adequate planning and time to  collect them ensures you won’t be rushing at the last minute.

Step 8: Create a Timeline for the Event

Once you have your audience, budget, theme and venue, plan a timeline for the event itself. This will vary based on the type of event. For example, an employee appreciation dinner may start with a welcome speech from a leader, followed by a meal and an awards ceremony with a final “thank you” from company leadership. If you are planning a conference or shareholders meeting, you may have multiple presenters delivering information. Each presenter will need a clear format and time frame for their presentations. Be sure there is time for food or other breaks as appropriate.

Step 9: Raise Awareness

The last thing to do prior to the event is advertise for it! Choose the best method of communication for your target audience and begin your campaign for awareness. If your event requires RSVPs or registration, be sure that you leave enough time for people to respond. Send follow ups and reminders as appropriate to keep the audience engaged and to build excitement around the event.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Corporate Events

This depends on the event. You will likely need to involve different stakeholders in planning. A board or shareholder meeting should mostly be planned by leadership, but it can be tasked to HR for coordination. Other events may be planned by leadership, HR, employees, or a special committee. Use your discretion for each type of event.
If you are interested in learning about the tax implications of corporate events, speak with your company’s CPA, financial officer or accounting team.
Colleen Frislid
Colleen E. Frislid, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Colleen manages a team of HR consultants that work with a variety of industries, specializing in the fields of human resources, strategic planning, and human capital management. Colleen applies expert knowledge, industry experience, and relentless energy to solving companies’ issues. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management as well as women in leadership groups. She is PHR, SPHR, and SHRM-SCP certified. She has an awesome pet cat, Attila and, when she’s not working she loves to travel, enjoy the great outdoors, and volunteer with different local charities.

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