I live in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
You may have heard of the place - the only 7 Star hotel in the world, the world's tallest building and an entire population of business people living on million dollar villas built on land reclaimed from the sea and shaped into palm trees so they can be seen from space.
Yes that's the UAE.
By the way, take a look at what's happening in Abu Dhabi for some even newer 'wow's.
It's getting into the busy season for staff parties, gala dinners and Xmas get togethers. In my experience, this is also the time when most companies reward their customers, clients and employees with a big event.
For the session to be most effective YOU MUST do the following 7 things:
1) Be seen to spend something.
Beleive it or not the dollar/head spend is not as tangible as the perception of the effort that went into making the event happen. When you want to inspire loyalty, show what that loyalty is worth.
2) Get everyone away from work.
This could be in work hours, outside work hours. Maybe you host it in the hotel next door, at a client's premises, a favourite restaurant or in a foreign country. The vital ingredient is the attendees shouldn't feel like it is a day at work - even if the event is about team building. To shake up the dynamics and office politics, they must feel like they are not presently within one. If you don't do this, your money was wasted on an expensive 'Monday morning'.
3) Let them bring their partners
Remember why each member of staff goes to work for you. It's not just the money. It's the management, the feeling and the way that it gives them a worthwhile home life. Yes, they go to work so they can have a better time when they are not at work. You want to score some serious brownie points? Invite their other half and give THEM a thank you present. Your staff retention levels will sky rocket after this.
4) Serve them
That's right. Whether it's physically waiting on their tables, handing out the starters or greeting them as they arrive with a handshake or 'thank you' message, let them know that you see they exist. We all remember those once in a lifetime stories about meeting a celebrity and 'they said something' - even if it happened to a friend rather than to us. Well for most staff when the boss and his team take the few minutes away from their work to actually ask about us - it has the same effect. Also as long as you don't 'pull an Enron' this goodwill lasts forever.
5) Record the experience
It may seem like an unnecessary expense to invest in a professional photographer or video team, but JUST AS IMPORTANT as the actual day IS THE EVIDENCE of what happened. You can use the photos for Christmas or Eid greetings cards, individual birthday messages, internal newsletters, press releases, recruitment drives - the list is endless. If you get a member of staff to do this then THEY ARE NOW WORKING. Also a member of staff may be cheap (free) but there is no accountability for the quality or quantity of any pictures taken. If you are investing in your staff, invest in the memories too.
6) Get some great entertainment
Yes, we know you can speak well. But you are expected to. You are also too close to the subject and the company to say anything that won't be percieved as 'spin' or 'corporate talk'. Get a motivational, inspirational, business, keynote, teambuilding speaker in. Pay the money. Let them do whatever they do best AND SIT BACK. They are not competition for your position, so leave the ego to one side. Brief them, introduce them and let them go to work. Be a customer to them during the performance too. You will learn something new.
7) Repeat the experience often.
So many organisations have a get-together, staff party, customer 'thank you' evening or brainstorming get-away trip only once per year. That means so much of your success for the next 12 months will be based on the success of your one-off event. Even the odds and do something every quarter or even every month. It doesn't have to be big or expensive. Just remember what made you want to run an event in the first place:
1) Increased productivity
2) Higher staff retention rates
3) Reduced stress levels
4) Letting the troops know you care
5) etc etc etc
Can you really only afford to do something about this at the end of the fiscal year?
Talk to me...