Taking action to create a more positive company culture

Company alignment and employee appreciation go hand in hand. Internal events are held in part to thank employees for their hard work, but there is a selfish reason to make sure the team is happy.

“Sometimes executives in the C-level may slough off the idea of an employee appreciation event as frivolity,” says Matt Radicelli, founder and CEO of Rock The House Audio Visual. “What they’re missing is the hidden purpose: an idea that will align the team, leading to greater efficiency while reducing turnover.”

But, he says, just the act of throwing an appreciation event is not enough in itself to align or engage the team. It has to be properly produced to effectively deliver that message of appreciation.

Smart Business spoke with Radicelli about throwing events with purpose.

What are the fundamental elements of internal events?
With any event, it’s important to be respectful of the team’s time. Events — whether it’s an annul kickoff meeting, state-of-the-company meeting, holiday party or an appreciation dinner — should start and end on time, have an agenda that’s specific and key company players need to be present.

The program itself should be fluid and have specificity — events should happen deliberately to generate energy. That means following a storyboard of sorts, with a clear beginning and end.

How should companies use events to boost morale and improve cohesiveness?
A group of people can’t be forced to jumpstart the company’s culture. If employee morale is important, committees should exist that are made up of people who care — never ‘voluntell’ someone or make them join the culture team.

One problem companies make is as a holiday party approaches, they recruit people from each department a few weeks before the date and ask them to plan an event. That’s not the worst approach, but it’s not best. These people may not have talked to each other throughout the year and haven’t likely planned an event together. There’s likely no chemistry and no ability to incorporate lessons from past events.

It’s best if the committee has knowledge of events thrown by the company through the years, including holiday parties, kickoffs and other meetings. Invest in the activities that led to improved engagement and morale.
Also, appoint a culture czar. While one person can’t do it alone — it takes a village to move a company’s culture — one person should lead the charge and be accountable for the outcome.

Why should a company look outside for help with internal events?
Third parties are typically specialists. They have the wisdom to guide a company to better outcomes. Bringing in a specialist also allows a business to focus on what they’re good at and not expend energy only to produce lackluster results.

Hiring the right event partner and forming a long-term relationship allows the two to build on success. Hiring the right people — whether consultants, comedians, caterers or an AV team — can help guide the planning based on individual knowledge and experiences.

Companies that have been doing the same thing for a while and getting stagnant results should invite a professional to offer a fresh perspective. Companies can find themselves watching the cultural growth of their competitors and feel as if they’re standing still. Bring in a professional and borrow their vision until new ideas can be generated without their help.

Ask associates from other industries about what’s going on within their walls. When was the last time they wowed their employees with an event and what was the result? Learn from them and incorporate their lessons.

Ultimately, employees matter. Employee appreciation doesn’t start and stop at the holiday party. Their happiness and engagement is woven into the fabric of the company’s culture, which in turn is inextricable from the company’s performance.

Companies that are stuck can find help. There are many organizations that produce hundreds of events each year. They know what works and what doesn’t.

Insights Entertainment Services is brought to you by Rock The House Audio Visual