Organizing an end-of-year staff meeting can be challenging, as besides being a fun gathering, it also should aim to remain as productive and meaningful as possible. It’s an event that needs to meet many expectations from all employees, ranging from the junior staff to the senior management.
When well executed, end-of-year meetups hold power to motivate your employees for another year of intense work. They can be especially important now when the Covid-19 pandemic caused many companies to switch to remote setup, making workers feel more isolated. That’s why you simply cannot underestimate how vital some quality face-to-face time can be these days.
If you’ve never done anything like this before, the idea can seem overwhelming. However, there’s no need to worry. In the article below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about organizing and hosting a successful meetup for your employees. You can also consider using event management software such as Sched to make things easier for yourself. Read on and learn more!
Hold It Somewhere New
Your organization’s budget will be one of the crucial factors when deciding the most appropriate place to hold the meetup. If most of the employees work in the U.S., it makes little sense to fly everyone to Europe, even though it might seem like an attractive destination.
Let’s say that your organization is based in Los Angeles, California. Even if most of your employees are working remotely, they’ve probably visited the city before to take part in the onboarding process. Some of them might be showing up at the office once a week or every few weeks.
In this situation, Los Angeles may not be as good of a choice as magnificent Palo Alto or charming Solana Beach. California is also located close enough to other popular destinations, such as Lake Tahoe in Nevada or Sedona in Arizona, so keep this in mind and think about how you can make it work for your location.
Try to gather the participants somewhere neutral, so everybody has to leave behind their daily routines and responsibilities to make place for the meetup and be fully present through the whole event. By choosing a location other than the city that’s home to your organization, you’ll also enable the employees to explore places they haven’t visited before.
Include New Employees’ Introductions
Every employee should be presented with an opportunity to introduce themselves to the rest of the organization in a way that is meaningful to them and makes them feel represented adequately. An end-of-year meetup might be the perfect time to do so.
For instance, you can reach out to the recently hired people and encourage them to prepare short presentations and talk about anything they care about. It can be their hobby or something they’re involved in or passionate about.
Initially, some people might be resistant to speak in front of their colleagues, so it’s your job to make them feel comfortable. Consider highlighting that they should treat it as a chance to show their personality and give others insight into the subjects that matter to them.
Break the Ice
When you gather in the same place the employees who have been with your organization for years and those who only recently joined, you might need some fun activities to act as icebreakers. Sure, you can ask “how is everyone doing” at the beginning of the meeting, but it won’t be enough to encourage team bonding. Fun ice breakers can help establish this connection.
When choosing the games for your meetup, focus on activities that can strengthen the bond between the coworkers, stimulate brainstorming, and make everyone feel included. You can try to host a quiz about everything that happened for the company in the previous year or focus on general knowledge. It’s also a good idea to play a game like “two truths and a lie” that is perfect for getting to know each other better.
See the City You’ve Traveled To
It would be a shame to travel to a different city for the meetup and have no chance to leave the conference room and do some sightseeing. It might be the first time in a particular destination for many people, and there’s always something cool to see and experience.
Therefore, you should try to schedule a group tour. Even if you’ll be only walking around and checking out the most popular tourist spots in the city, it’s still a great activity. You can use it as a break during the introductions and let everyone get out, breathe in the fresh air, and feel warm rays of sunshine on their faces. Sightseeing is also a great chance for people to walk around freely, take group photos, strike up conversations, and create memories together.
Plan in Some Downtime
Meetups can get quite intense. There’s a lot to do in quite a strict time frame, and it’s only natural that you want to use the time you have with your employees to the maximum. However, you cannot forget about the importance of slowing down and allowing everyone to catch a breath.
Try to schedule at least an hour for people to choose what they want to do. Give them free time with nothing scheduled to visit a restaurant, go to a local cafe, explore the city on their own, or simply use that time to relax or strike up some casual conversations. This way, people won’t get overwhelmed by the pace of the meetup, and they’ll be able to quickly “recharge” and prepare for more fun and productive activities.
Annual company meetups can be a chance to bring your employees closer together and take a look back at everything that your organization achieved in the previous year. However, if you want to host an event that’s both fun and meaningful, you’ll need to dedicate time to some serious planning.
You can try to let go of perfectionism and focus on ways to allow your employees to bond and get to know each other better, especially if some of them are working remotely for most of the year. Try to stay flexible and avoid overloading the schedule with too many activities. Be as open as possible to last-minute suggestions, prioritize your employees’ wellbeing and do your best to ensure that everyone feels included. Good luck!