Employee appreciation events are a great way to encourage camaraderie and thank your employees for their hard work promoting a happy workplace. Fast Company reports happier people are about 12% more productive, therefore an employee appreciation event may actually add value to your companies ROI.
Here are the top 3 questions to ask when planning an employee appreciation event and a closer look at different types of events and venues to best fit your needs.
1. What is your budget?
This is by far the most important question you will need to ask yourself when planning an event of any kind. The answer will determine the venue, who you will be inviting, the type of event you’ll be throwing, if you can afford to give away prizes and what kind of prizes, etc.
Once you have your budget, plan for the worst and hope for the best to ensure you don’t over-extend yourself. Round up and estimate high on all of your potential costs. I suggest putting together a budget sheet in an excel document to help keep track of estimated costs and actual cost impact. That way if you go over in one spending category you can easily look at your list of expenses to see where you can cut-costs with the least impact on your event.
2. Who do you want to invite?
Yes, this is an employee appreciation event. But, does it make sense to also invite their significant others? What about their children? Could this also be an opportunity to incorporate your clients and potential clients? What about their significant others and families? These answers will drive the type of event you are looking to host. It will also impact your budget. Although more people typically means less to spend per head, if there is a potential direct correlation to the bottom line (new business) you may be able to increase your event’s budget spend.
In most cases, an internal-facing employee appreciation event has different expectations and a different look than external-facing customer events. Combining these events can have their benefits, like raising the caliber of the internal-facing event, but assess your company and staffing as a whole to determine if it is a good fit for your company. For example, if your staff is unaccustomed to working with clients, like a tech company, combining these events may not be a good fit. However, if most of your staff is made up of highly social individuals like a retail shop or fundraisers, combining the employee and customer events might work well.
3. What type of event do you want to host?
Do you want it to be a casual picnic, a swanky cocktail hour, or an elegant sit down dinner? Do you want a captive or transient audience? Do you want the focus of the event to be team building, networking or a formal presentation?
Picnics are inexpensive and informal. Cocktail parties are moderately expensive and semi-formal. Cocktail parties are great for networking and therefore are a better fit for a cross-employee and customer appreciation event than picnics. Sit down dinners are more formal and typically more expensive to host. If you host a cocktail hour prior to sitting down, you can combine the networking power that cocktail parties offer with the sit-down dinner’s strength of a captured audience for a formal presentation. Sit down dinners are the least transient event type as they follow a more formalized schedule.
Add a little extra to really show your attendees that you care and appreciate them. This could be a hand written card given to each of the attendees with a gift card/certificate enclosed, a cake decorated to thank them for a job well done, a speech given at the event, or swag bags filled with small gifts from members of your team. Swag bags are a great sponsorship opportunity and can mitigate the costs of your event by finding vendors to sponsor some of the items in the bag.
Originally written for Bags & Bows Blog