If your business has a large team or even a series of small teams spread over different locations or teleworking, then the occasional get-together is essential for a few different purposes. It gets everyone on the same page as far as plans go, it allows people who have perhaps only talked via email, phone, or video call to meet face-to-face, and it can turn a team of individuals into a united company, defining the culture that makes it a success. But a lot of companies turn them into the most awkward, dry, and stuttering events possible. Here’s how you ensure that doesn’t happen.
1. Place it Somewhere Special
The first thing about planning a conference is making sure that you have the right venue. You don’t have to go overboard on the budget but if you book your conference on the Vaal or another comfortable, picturesque area, it becomes something of a work holiday rather than a work trip. The location, coupled with service that’s used to catering and providing for corporate events is a lot more likely to make everyone relax.
2. Be Prepared to Get Thing Rolling
Indeed, the possibility of discomfort is something you should be concerned about. If there are new members to the team or this is the first company-wide conference, people aren’t going to have a lot to go off of. Be prepared to set up some ice-breaking activities. Things will start off a little awkward at first, but participation and communication to solve things like team-based games quickly re-establishes the rapport built over long distances and gives them the opportunity to feel comfortable with one-another.
3. Have the Purpose Prepared in Advance
The talking points of your conference are largely down to what plans your company has and what steps you need to make across the different teams to reach them. Regardless of what they are, you can help different teams prepare in advance but outlining an agenda, including questions for team leaders to think about. It gives everyone time to think about the topic at hand, rather than being put on the spot and asked to contribute to a conversation they’re not very prepared for.
4. Recognise the Great Work That’s Been Done
It’s a perfect opportunity for different leaders to recognise which members of the team have gone beyond the call-of-duty, too. Using the conference for an award ceremony, for instance, puts a positive spin on the trip that impacts the confidence that the company values the individual members, even beyond those who get awarded.
5. Make Plenty of Time for Fun
Don’t let the talking points, the team-building exercises, and the awards take up all your time, either. Allow for downtime, whether it’s having drinks after a day of corporate talk or taking the team out for a meal. Give people the chance to build a rapport naturally and cut loose. Otherwise, everyone is going to be exhausted by day two. Happy employees are loyal employees. Making the conference a time to relax and hang out with their co-workers will make them another benefit of working with the company rather than an obligatory annoyance.
The company conference should be your opportunity to inject a bit of life into the corporate culture. Hopefully, the tips above show you just how to do that.