Holding company events may not be a high priority for most startups, especially considering many are on quite tight budgets. Some also may perceive events to fit into more of the corporate culture, rather than the so-called ‘startup culture’.
Company events are more than just mandated gatherings to let your employees kick back for a moment. It is also an opportunity to help organize teams, boost morale, and improve the overall culture of your startup.
The culture of a startup company is something that ideally grows organically over time among employees, and often has little impact from higher-ups. Such culture affects the way tasks are managed, how employees interact with each-other, and even affects how new recruits are integrated into the team.
Having a healthy company culture is more about improving performance, but rather retaining highly valued employees. According to a study by Development Dimensions International, the turnover rates from manufacturing companies dropped from 14.5% to 4.1% after working on employee culture and engagement.
In another 2004 report from Towers Perrin, 66% of highly engaged employees reported they wanted to stick with their companies. With unengaged employees, only 12% felt like working at the same place, and 31% already had plans to move on.
While it’s not the only means of doing so, strategically holding company events is a way to establish a startup business’s culture early on. It can be used to increase an employee’s engagement, and make them feel they have a purpose in the company.
Leadership & Employee Relations
An even bigger barrier to break within a company is the relationship between those at different levels in the company. Being the boss, your authority can be intimidating, and can prevent employees from approaching you when there’s and issue.
It’s being proven that this classic hierarchy isn’t the best for productivity, and employees should see you more as a peer than a figure of authority.
Holding company events that put everyone into more relaxed positions can allow you to reach out on a more presonal level. In a setting at a picnic or other outside venues, you can demonstrate how you are outside of a business setting.
Types of Events
Company event can be as bare-bones or complex as your budget allows. The important aspect is to accomplish the goal of improving your company. You may even consider contracting experts offering corporate event services to help layout the foundation for your events.
Having said that, here are some common company events that you should consider:
- Appreciation/Recognition Events – This may consist of giving awards for exceptional employees in front of an audience.
- Team Building/Trust Building Events – Events that are specifically designed to improve trust and relationships between staff members. This can also be fun, such as going out to a rock climbing gym.
- Pure Fun Events – Events that are about getting to know each other and boosting morale. This can be simple as going out for food, or more something well-planned that everyone looks forward to.
- Incentized Vacations – Plan an off-site getaway that consist of exceptional staff members or salesmen. This can act as a way to help boost sales during critical periods. This can be cruise, a trip to the theme park, or tickets to a sporting event.
- Participant-driven Brainstorming Sessions – Events in which employees are encouraged to help co-create the agenda. This can be a way to brainstorm new products help improve processes within the company.
- Hackathons or "Thinkathons" – While this idea may be more applicable in software-based startups, it’s a means of driving competition to solve certain problems in one event.
- Panel Discussions – A civilized way to have discussions in which everyone has a chance at giving their own perspective without interruption. The concept of “fishbowl conversations” is a unique and super engaging way to organize panels.
- Board Meetings – This is a classic example of a company event, and can be held within the office or an off-site location. The goal is simply to share business goals, company performance, and would be the right time to bring up any other critical topics.
- Trade Shows – Hosting or attending trade shows is important for a company to make connections, keep up with the latest trends, educate team members, and increase brand recognition. It may break away from your original business operation, but it’s an unmatched way to rub shoulders with other established brands.
- Charity Fundraising Events – Helping charities not only helps people in need, but also is great for brand awareness. It’s even better when you have a publicized event surrounding it.
It’s definitely worth considering company events into your startup’s budget, even if it’s the bare minimal. Not only is it healthy for your company’s culture, it can help your company grow and reach higher profit margins.