4 Types of Corporate Events to Engage Employees

Corporate events are perfect for interacting with your customers, but they also are a must for employee activation. In a corporate world that’s starved for connection, inspiration, and energy, events can turn things around and give a boost to your organization.

But not all corporate events are created equally, and that means you have to plan your employee activation opportunities carefully. Before you plan an event, let your goals help you decide what type of event will be most effective for your team.

After all, a party is very different from a seminar. Let’s weigh the pros and cons of the four most common types of corporate events, so you can pick an event type that works best for your team.

1. Conference

Conferences aren’t just for industry-wide events or product launches. You can hold an internal conference to create an educational, feel-good event for your team. If you want to raise awareness, connect your team, or roll out a big announcement, an internal conference is a good bet for groups of 100-plus employees. 

Pros

The great thing about a conference is that it’s education, fun, and culture all rolled into one. You can create a theme for the conference to tie all of your sessions together, which makes the experience more interesting for attendees. A conference is also appropriate for inviting big-name speakers in your industry or niche, such as Brene Brown coaching your workforce on courage. If you need to inspire hundreds of employees at once, a conference is your best bet.

Cons

Of course, conferences are tough to pull off. You’ll need to book a large venue, like a convention center, to accommodate such a large group of people. You’ll also need to plan multiple content tracks, set up a check-in process, and account for travel. Because conferences are larger and more complex, they’re one of the most expensive types of corporate events.

2. Seminar

Unlike a conference, which blends education with non-work-related fun, a seminar is more focused on training. Seminars are more academically oriented and are better suited for smaller teams. 

Pros

The major upside of a seminar is that it allows you to sit down and train your team in an intensive environment. If you need to give your team practical skills to help them feel more competent on the job, a seminar is the best way to do that. 

You can host a seminar for a specific team, a certification, or practical skills. For example, it’s the best setup for training your sales team on the ins and outs of a new product or for training HR on compliance.

Cons

A seminar is definitely a less “fun” type of event, but its purpose is to educate, not to entertain. The biggest problem with seminars is that they can get dry awfully fast, so offer plenty of breaks, good snacks, exciting speakers, and interactive formats to keep your team engaged.

3. Party

Ready to party? There’s no better way to recognize, reward, and connect your team than with an awesome party! Whether you host it at a restaurant, museum, game arcade, or elsewhere, parties are a rewarding and lighthearted type of corporate event.

Pros

If you want to boost morale, facilitate appreciation, and connect your employees in a low-stakes environment, a party is a great idea. Parties let your team blow off some steam and escape the stress of the office. Planned well, parties can reduce organizational silos and create positive relationships between departments, too. 

Cons

The downside to parties is that they don’t have a direct tie to your business. Since it isn’t appropriate to talk about Q2 performance in the middle of a karaoke contest, keep in mind that parties are primarily for socialization.

Parties are the most casual type of corporate event, which means they can create problems. The last thing you need is an employee going on a drunken tirade at your holiday shindig. Limit alcohol, set expectations for behavior, and choose your venue, so everyone has a pleasant time.

4. Off-site meeting

Do you need to bring all of your managers and executives together? An off-site meeting could be the right event for your team. Off-site meetings can happen at coworking spaces, hotel meeting rooms, or private lounges. They’re best used for forming face-to-face connections between higher-ups.

Pros

If you’re feeling creatively stifled, sometimes a change of venue is just what your team needs. The great thing about off-site meetings is that they get your team out of its usual environment. If you gather in a creative, cool space, it can be an impactful way to brainstorm new, out-of-the-box ideas with your leadership team.

This change of venue also gives leaders the license to speak honestly away from the pressures of the office. For example, if your C-suite needs to collaborate with managers on budget cuts, an off-site meeting gives them the space to make collaborative decisions in private.

Cons

The biggest downside to an off-site meeting is that it can come off as exclusionary to the rest of your team. After all, if the higher-ups are going to a resort every month to chat about business, it’s natural that your other teammates could feel left out and marginalized. 

Choose the event type that works for you

Who says corporate events have to be stuffy and boring? It’s possible to plan an influential, engaging event for your employees with a dash of strategic planning. These four event types are the most common options in corporate event planning, but remember that each has pros and cons. At the end of the day, you have to choose an event type that best aligns with your goals.Feeling overwhelmed already? Don’t sweat it. See how CPG Agency helps brands reignite their company culture with engaging employee events.

With a nearly 20-year career crossing corporate and agency development and management roles, Liz brings a holistic perspective, efficient process and creative acumen to each client relationship. She employs a multi-disciplinary approach to match best-in-class experiences with business objectives and has shared that solution with audiences across a wide variety of the biggest brands in the world.