The Impact of Corporate Events on Employee Engagement
In order for businesses to truly become successful, employee engagement is a key metric to monitor. Employee engagement directly impacts productivity, with engaged employees being more productive. Businesses lose revenue as their productivity drops. If employees aren’t engaged, there’s nothing to drive them to do better. This can quickly become part of the company culture if not monitored and addressed appropriately.
Corporate events such as conferences, socials, and team building are good ways to boost employee engagement and improve productivity, employee performance, and staff retention. This, in turn, leads to revenue growth. But how exactly can a simple event make all this difference? To understand that, we first need to comprehend what drives employee engagement. Keep reading to learn more about employee engagement and the impact that corporate events can have.
What Is Employee Engagement?
There are several misconceptions when it comes to what employee engagement is. However, to truly drive employee engagement, businesses must define what engagement means and understand what it looks like within their company.
A recent study conducted by Deloitte found that despite 80% of executives rating employee engagement as important, 18% of companies don’t measure employee engagement at all. These statistics show that there is still a disconnect between how important this factor is and managing it effectively.
Employee engagement has been defined as an employees’ mental and emotional connection to the company and their work within that business. However, it’s important to note that employee engagement doesn’t encompass employee happiness, satisfaction, or well-being. While these factors are essential for a healthy and productive workplace, they do not affect the employees’ connection to the company on a deeper level.
Employee engagement can be measured on a scale, and typically there are four levels of employee engagement. These levels are:
- Highly engaged
- Moderately engaged
- Barely engaged
Highly engaged employees are the ones that hold a favorable opinion of the company. These employees feel connected to their teams, love their jobs, and are always willing to go the extra mile for the company. They also have a much higher loyalty to the company and will stay with the company for many years. Engaged employees also help to motivate those around them to do their best.
Moderately engaged employees value the company as ‘just ok.’ While they don’t view the company in a negative light, they do feel that there are opportunities for improvement. These employees rarely do additional work and won’t ask for more opportunities. They’re the type of workers that only do the bare minimum. There is often something holding them back from full engagement, which could either be within their specific job or the company as a whole and addressing this could boost engagement.
Employees who are barely engaged don’t really have an opinion on the business. This also means there’s no loyalty, and they’re more likely to leave the company when something better arises. They only do as much as they need, often underperform, and test the boundaries of how little they need to do. These employees can drain the morale of those around them and are a high turnover risk.
Disengaged employees have a negative opinion of the company, and you’ll often find them complaining about something or another. They are completely disconnected from your business’s mission, goals, and future. They are not committed to their work, positions, or responsibilities. These employees can have a very detrimental effect on your company as their negative perceptions can impact the productivity of those around them.
Employee Engagement vs. Job Satisfaction
Engagement and satisfaction are two factors that are frequently used interchangeably. Despite sharing some similarities, there is a difference between engagement and satisfaction. Understanding this difference is critical to ensure that you implement the right strategy depending on where that employee is.
The biggest difference is that job satisfaction is considered a one-way street. That means when you think about employee satisfaction, you think of what the company can do for you. Can they pay a good salary? Are the hours reasonable? Is there a remote work or flexi-hour option? Are there good benefits? Does everyone understand clearly what’s expected of them?
Alternatively, employee engagement is a two-way street. What can the employee and the company do together? How can they work together to improve and grow the company? Understanding the difference is important because an engaged employee can be dissatisfied with their job, and a satisfied employee can be disengaged from the company.
Understanding the difference between these two concepts is essential so that they can be addressed. Only by knowing the difference will companies be able to address the issues and improve the situation. Both of these issues can result in high employee turnover if not handled the right way.
What Drives Employee Engagement?
There are several things that can drive employee engagement. Some of the top drivers include:
- Jobs that utilize an employee’s strengths
- Trust in the company leader’s ability to lead the business to success
- Jobs that are interesting and challenging without being overwhelming
- Employees feeling valued
- Taking employee’s opinions into account
- Being recognized for hard work and efforts
- The availability of growth and career development opportunities
- Having the information required to do your job well
These drivers make a few important themes clear. The first is that employees need to be motivated in their jobs. Employees must be given interesting tasks and challenged to use their strengths. They want opportunities to grow their skills and career. If employees aren’t motivated, they’ll fall into a slump, and their engagement and job satisfaction will decrease.
The second theme that becomes apparent is that employees want inspirational team leaders. Leadership and team relationships is an essential factor in employee engagement. Employees want to work with leaders that value their opinions and efforts. They want to work for leaders that put their people first and show compassion and integrity in their duties.
Finally, another theme that becomes clear when considering engagement drivers is that employees want to commit to organizations with a plan for the future. If employees feel that the company is going places, growing, and expanding, they’ll feel more involved in that success.
How Corporate Events Boost Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement can be a real challenge for many businesses. To make the necessary changes, you need to understand where the company’s efforts are lacking. This can be done by sending out employee surveys, having personal growth meetings, and talking to your teams. Once you know which areas need improvement, you can set up a plan to improve employee engagement. This plan can incorporate a number of different strategies, but among them should be corporate events.
Corporate event budgeting can be a complex process when not done correctly, which is one of the reasons why many businesses tend not to consider these events. However, corporate events provide a great opportunity to foster company culture, meet with colleagues, and boost motivation. This, in turn, makes employees more productive, which results in higher-quality work and more revenue. Let’s look at what benefits internal and corporate events can have for employee engagement.
Reinforces Company Culture
Company culture is growing in importance for many businesses. The culture of your company has evolved to more than how the cubicles are personalized or which posters are displayed on the wall. A corporate event is a great way to bring your brand to life and show your employees who they’re working for.
Regular company events like an end-of-year party are a great way to establish company culture. Employees can look forward to these events as they know when they’re coming. The company can also make the lead-up to these events fun and rejuvenating to get employees excited about them. This makes the employees feel like they’re involved in the culture of the company.
Creates a Sense Of Unity
Hosting a corporate event is a great way to create a sense of unity among your employees. This is especially true if your company is large, spread out over different offices, or if you have many remote workers. By attending a corporate event, employees can network and get to know their colleagues, which gives them a sense of purpose and value within the company.
Humans are social creatures, and forming meaningful relationships makes people feel more fulfilled. Consider how much time you spend at work. Forming relationships with your co-workers is a great way to boost employee morale. Corporate events allow employees to build and strengthen these relationships in a more casual setting, improving their engagement in the business.
Chances for Contact with Leadership
Leaders have an important responsibility when it comes to employee engagement. They have to motivate employees, communicate the company goals, deliver praise and recognition, and so much more. Corporate events are a great platform for those in leadership positions to interact with their teams and show them that their efforts are noticed by management and that they are making a difference.
Contact with leadership is also important for career development. It provides a platform where employees can start mentorship relationships and talk one-on-one to various leaders from within the company. Corporate events are ideal for facilitating these encounters as they’re less formal and, therefore, it’s easier to start the relationships.
Assessing Brand Values
Brand values are becoming more important for employees. As more Millenials and Gen Zs enter the workforce, they place greater importance on brand values. These individuals would rather work for a company that aligns with their own values. A corporate event is a great opportunity for the company to show its brand values. It also gives employees a chance to evaluate those values and see if they’re a good fit in the long term.
Reward and Recognition
The study done by Deloitte that we mentioned earlier also states that recognition is the second most important factor for employee engagement. It’s second only to the company’s respect for employees’ work-life balance. By recognizing employees who excel at their job and rewarding their efforts, businesses can make them feel valued while motivating others to do the same. Corporate events are the ideal platform to reward and recognize employees in a fun and informal setting.
Humanizes the Organization
Sometimes it can be easy to feel isolated within a company, especially if it’s a large company. This is also happening more frequently as more businesses adopt remote work frameworks. By not having enough interactions with various key players and teams within the organization, employees can start to view the company as non-human, which can affect their engagement. A corporate event is a good way to showcase the human side of your business.
Regular events are especially beneficial as it brings people together. They can also be used to celebrate important things that show the humanity within the business. These can be celebrations for diversity, employee achievements, company growth, expansion to new markets, and more. Companies can also benefit from these corporate events in other ways; for one, it also humanizes the business in the eyes of the client.
Corporate events are also a great way to break the routine of an otherwise monotonous work life. Work routines can easily become repetitive and even boring. This is especially true in jobs where the work is very repetitive or even unfulfilling. Events that are scheduled throughout the year can be a good way to keep employees happy and motivated as they look forward to these events. Breaking routine is also beneficial for replenishing tapped-out creativity and burn-out and reintroducing novelty back to the work experience for employees.
Types of Corporate Events to Engage Employees
Corporate events have a number of benefits when engaging employees. However, there are many different types of events that you can arrange. Not every event is right for every situation. As such, you need to first look at what the goals for your employee engagement are and then choose an appropriate event to meet that goal.
Traditionally conferences are used for industry-wide events or product launches. Sending employees to attend conferences can be a good way to have them gain new perspectives, replenish their creativity, and learn about industry-related topics. Businesses can also opt to host in-house conferences. These types of events are gaining momentum as a great way to host an educational yet feel-good event for your employees.
The benefit of these internal conferences is combining education, fun, and your corporate culture into a single event. You can use themes to tie your sessions together and make them more entertaining for your employees. Companies can also bring in professional guest speakers on a range of industry or personal well-being-related topics to coach their workforce in a fun and entertaining way.
The challenge with a conference is that it can be difficult to pull off. First off, you need a venue such as a conference center or at the very least a boardroom large enough for all your attending employees. You’ll also need to set up a content plan for all the topics and sessions that will be held. You’ll also need to plan for logistics such as travel, accommodation, sign-in, and more. Because conferences tend to be very large events, they’re also more expensive. As such, you’ll need to pay close attention to your budget if you plan on hosting conferences to boost employee engagement.
Seminars are traditionally more focused on training. That doesn’t mean they must be boring or lack fun. After all, you still want to inspire and motivate your employees. However, these events place a much larger importance on education. Seminars are also usually better suited for small groups, such as individual teams or departments.
One of the biggest benefits of a seminar is that it gives you the opportunity to provide some intensive training and practical skills in a small group. This will make your employees feel more equipped and prepared for their job. Seminars can be very beneficial to teach certain teams specific skills that they need for their job, or they can be used to train employees on business protocols such as data security, workplace harassment, and more.
Because seminars focus on education and training, they can become boring pretty quickly. A boring seminar will have the opposite effect on employee engagement. However, these events aren’t meant to be entertaining, so you’ll have to find creative ways to make the content interesting and compelling without sacrificing the educational component. Some ways to do this include incorporating more breaks, having good snacks, enlisting a professional speaker, and using interactive formats such as group challenges.
Off-site meetings are a great event when you must bring your managers and supervisors together. Breaking away from the office and changing your surroundings can be a good way to open up casual communications between the different employees. These types of events can be held at restaurants, hotel meeting rooms, private lounges, or co-working spaces.
There are a number of benefits to hosting off-site meetings. Getting out of the office can help when a team feels stifled or stuck. By merely changing the scenery, you can get back some creativity and start working on new ideas or working on solving current challenges. Off-site meetings also make it possible to discuss sensitive topics in private.
The challenge of regular off-site meetings is that they can appear as exclusionary to other employees. This is especially true if it is always the same team members and if the venues they attend are lavish such as fancy resorts or restaurants.
Parties are a rewarding and lighthearted event that can be used to recognize, reward, and connect with your team. Parties are meant to be purely entertaining and fun, and while company culture can be upheld, this isn’t the place for training or education. These types of events can be held at a restaurant, arcade, or other type of venue. Some businesses with space available might even choose to host parties at their venue.
Parties are a great way to boost morale, facilitate appreciation, and connect with employees in a low-stakes environment. They also allow your employees to let loose, blow off steam and relax away from the office. A well-planned party can also reduce organizational silos and create positive relationships between various departments.
The challenge with parties is that they are merely for socialization. This isn’t the platform to discuss quarterly revenue or product development. Since parties are the most casual of all corporate events, problems such as drunken tirades and more are possible. As such, it’s important to still set expectations of behavior and potentially limit alcohol.
As the name suggests, team-building events are used to create relationships and strengthen bonds between employees. These types of events can be informal in nature, but they still have a crucial learning aspect. These events keep employees engaged with exciting new activities or experiences, all while fostering the importance of teamwork.
There are a number of different team-building activities that you can choose to partake in, and part of the joy is discovering new ones every time you plan one. Here are a few popular team-building ideas that you can consider:
- Escape rooms
- Drumming workshops
- Bigger picture art masterpiece
- Wine tasting event
- Terrarium workshop
- Paintball challenge
Employee engagement is an extremely important component that deserves more attention from managers. Engaged employees are more invested in the future and success of the company. They are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty to do their part for the business. Their positive attitude, motivation, and respect for the company will also inspire other workers around them. However, employee engagement benefits from corporate events where businesses can show appreciation and respect for their employees. Corporate events are the ideal platform to help employees connect with other teams, learn new skills or improve existing ones, better understand company culture, and feel more involved in the business’s success.