In the event industry, we pride ourselves on taking care of all the details that make up a successful event. Details as big as the food menu, and as small as wiping off any smudges on the white chairs. Clients are engaging us for our professional expertise to ensure that these details are not missed. To ensure the correct music is playing, the microphone is loud enough when the CEO is making his speech, the cotton candy is precisely the same amount on each cone and the inflatable is positioned perfectly in relation to the welcome tent. The value of a professional event planner cannot be overstated in terms of managing the small details. This is why you hire us – but this should not be why you make the investment in an employee appreciation event.
We recently had the honor of producing a company’s 100th Anniversary Family Day. This company does a Family Day annually, but this was our first involvement, and it was on a much larger scale due to the significance of the marker. As guests started to arrive, I was in my usual “the event starts in five minutes” mode and not paying much attention to the actual attendees. For reasons I can’t explain, I decided to settle myself and actually pay attention to the actions of the attendees, and not just their interaction with our elements of the event. Standing there, taking in the retiree tent, I felt a hand on my back. I turned and was immediately engaged by a retiree of this company. She gushed, in great detail, about how everyone looks forward to these events. She talked in depth about catching up with old friends and meeting the newer employees. She excused herself, thanking me for my time, but pointed out that time was wasting and she needed to see a few of the employees children that she hadn’t seen in a few months. I decided to trail a few steps behind her, and I was incredibly gratified by the level of interaction I saw throughout the event. People exchanging stories about their families, talking about days gone by in the factory, and retirees being brought up to speed about new developments. I’ve attended many events, but always with an eye towards how our services are performing, and are the guests having a good time interacting with our elements. We market our ability to create a memorable experience. That statement is usually based on the clients enjoyment of what we offered that day. Was the inflatable fun, food hot, concessions fresh and nobody got hurt – all benchmarks we measure to create that experience. I’m here to say that, as important as those details are in creating that experience, nothing is more valuable than the culture building taking place at a good appreciation event.
Companies make significant investments in employee training, and in tools to improve productivity. It’s been our experience that those investments stop at the employee appreciation water’s edge. Many companies view the event as a product they are purchasing, and have trouble connecting tangible benefit to the investment in said product. Many do not see that it’s an investment in culture building. Look beyond the inflatable slide, look past the fresh popcorn, and focus on what you are really purchasing. The experience – the ability to bring your employees together in a casual environment, enjoy each other’s company, and perhaps connect generations of employees. The investment you make to engage the professional event planner, and their services, is valuable in setting the environment. It provides the appropriate backdrop, and a valuable attraction to get people together. And yes, there is a cost to this backdrop. But when it comes time to review the budget, make sure you understand what you are really buying. An opportunity to grow your company by employing it’s greatest resource as your prime recruiter – each other.