Upon first glance, a companywide employee appreciation party may seem like a complicated undertaking, but with a little careful preparation you can throw a successful and memorable event that goes off without a hitch. Here are some easy pro tips on planning a stellar employee appreciation party.
Enlist some helpers.
Going at it alone isn’t impossible but you can be surprised by how often you second guess your own decisions when planning a large event. Having a little help with your choices and getting a few extra hands to help tie up loose ends is really great place to start. Chances are you have some extremely enthusiastic and adept party planners in your staff who would love to help out and taking them on could greatly reduce any party planning stress later on.
Make a checklist.
Once you’ve elected one or two helpers, start making a check list for everything you’d like to include at your event. The most helpful list is arranged in order from what needs to be tackled right away to things that can be done last. For example, you’ll want to list picking the location for your party first while decorating for the event can be placed somewhere near the end of the list.
Pick a theme.
You don’t absolutely need to have a themed party but having an idea in place can make decisions on decorations, activities, gifts and even menu options much easier. It will help these elements look cohesive and your event as a whole look like it was planned by a pro. Your theme could center on a specific appreciation message you wish to convey or you can base it off of an activity you’d like to participate in, like a company softball tournament or relay race. If you prefer a more formal event, a charity based theme complete with a silent auction is a popular choice. Just remember to keep your attendants in mind and pick a theme that matches the overall personality of the group.
Send Email Announcements and Updates
Once you have your date, time, venue and theme chosen you can start informing your guests. Some employers like to have all the details of the event squared away so attendees merely have to show up and enjoy themselves while others prefer to get employees involved with some of the decision making, as a way of building interest. For example, if you are a little unsure of certain activities you’d like to include or the type of cuisine you’d like to serve it may help to request opinions from your staff or let them vote when you send your initial event announcement. This will show them that you want to make sure they have the best time possible at the upcoming event. When you send updates as the event gets closer it will build anticipation and interest even further.
Plan a set schedule for the event.
Arrival times, cocktail or dinner hours, speakers, award ceremonies and the end of the event should all be laid out so you can be sure the party runs smoothly. Even if something changes at the last minute, it won’t end up derailing your entire event because the rest of the schedule has been firmly set.
Choose a thoughtful, personalized gift.
Your words of gratitude at the event will be meaningful to your guests, but a customized employee appreciation gift will serve as a tangible reminder that will reinforce those words for a long time to come. You should select a gift your employees can use often or display at home or in the office. High end tech devices, like Bluetooth speakers or power banks, as well as thoughtful keepsakes, like picture frames, are popular choices. You should include your company brand and appreciation message custom printed on every gift for an added personal touch.
Save on decorations with your gifts.
If you are hosting a sit down event you may feel obligated to decorate your tables with centerpieces, which could end up taking a big bite out of your budget. This is where you can use your employee appreciation gifts to help you save. In lieu of expensive centerpieces, you can place your gifts at each table where guests will be seated, which is just as decorative but far less wasteful.
Consider raffling off prizes.
Giving out prizes at an employee appreciation party is one way to amp up the fun factor and using a raffle or a spinning wheel will give everyone a fair shake at taking home a prize. This is a great opportunity to incorporate some big ticket items that have been branded with your company logo, but don’t fit into your budget as a gift for every single attendant.
Put together an emergency kit before the event.
Remember Murphy’s Law? Whatever can go wrong, will. It doesn’t have to ruin your event, however. Before you head to your party bring a bag that is packed with tape, scissors, a stapler, extra string or ribbon, a mini tool kit, trash bags and anything you think you might need if something should go amiss. It’s always better to be safe – and prepared – than sorry.
Follow up after the event.
Send another email announcement after the party has passed to thank everyone for attending, share pictures and fond memories and, most importantly, to ask for feedback. Keep in mind that the whole purpose for your party was to honor your hard workers, so their constructive feedback should be valued and can help you when planning for next year.