Planning Events Your Employees Won’t Miss

Sometimes, getting employees to attend corporate events feels like you’re assigning them summer reading – and they’re not pumped about the material. 

We get it, town halls and mandatory workshops aren’t often a highlight on our collective calendar, but you’re a professional communicator and with the right tools and techniques you can turn that around! 

In this article, you’ll discover some quick wins and ideas to reinvigorate your event content and promotion. No longer will you wonder why no one signed up for that Lunch & Learn. I mean, you ordered Panera for crying out loud.  

1. Honor Employee Schedules

Sending your employees an invite to a work event outside of the 9-5 window can feel like posting the summer reading assignment. You’re doing something that will benefit them, but it’s still taking time away from going to the pool with the kids or asking them to opt-out of their early Friday dismissal.

Having your events during office hours is a sure-fire way to increase your employee attendance. Your employees will see this event as a welcome break from their endless meetings and email notifications. 

Yes, you’ll have some potential attendees who will opt-out due to a conflict, but overall your employee interest will increase and you’ll meet your all-important butts-in-seats KPI.

2. Get your employees out of their typical workspace

It’s hard to get excited about meeting in a boardroom that you could draw from memory. If you’re planning a large event and want your employees to spread the word, a fun, off-site location is vital. 

You wouldn’t want to grab a room at a local eatery for an update on healthcare options. But if you’re hosting a cross-team strategic planning session, renting out a room in a coworking space can promote “outside of the box” thinking. 

3. Don’t let them go hungry

Remember how every club in college would try to recruit you with the promise of cheap, single-topping nonsense pizza? Sure, that resonated when your diet consisted of bouncy ball-esque mystery chicken and a crate of Ramen, but you’ve upgraded to quinoa and properly seasoned protein of known origin. 

If you’re hosting company events during these time frames and aren’t providing at least Chipotle-level food, you’re not doing it right. 

  • 7:00 am-9:00 am
  • 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
  • 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Make dietary restriction information a part of the registration process, so no one feels like the vegetarian at a pig roast (it’s also a great way of letting your employees know that you care about them as individuals).  

4. Clarify the “why” 

“Why should I rearrange my schedule to go to [insert a fun, not ‘how to’ workshop name here]?” 

That’s the first question that will pop up in your employees’ minds with a quick, “What does my schedule even look like that day?” to follow. 

A few things you can ask yourself when honing the value proposition of your event are:

  • Can they get extra PTO for volunteer events? 
  • Is a member of the board or C-Suite going to be present at the town hall?
  • How does what they will learn positively affect their work/life? 

Your answer to these questions should be shortened into 40 characters for a killer email invite headline. 

5. Get employees excited

Skip the stock photo of diverse employees in business casual with blue lanyards and the occasional padfolio for your upcoming event. It’s overused, someone on your team used it for the “Cornerstone Connect” networking event a few months ago. 

Here are some ways to hype up your event promo:

  • If you’ve hosted this event before, use some great candid shots taken of the attendees to get your employees to share it with their peers.
  • Gather quotes from previous attendees describing key takeaways.
  • Have your most energetic employees emcee your town halls or fireside chats to generate buy-in from their department and BWFs (Best Work Friends).

6. Mix up your mediums, not your messaging

Event descriptions are a formulaic snoozefest. The standard template is two paragraphs introducing the idea, three to four bullet points on what you’ll learn, and then the date, time, and location are restated. 

Here are some ideas on ways you can move past the traditional event page:

  • Try something new and create a video invite. Whether you use social or email, your team doesn’t need a Masters in video production to generate some buzz.
  • Partner with HR for promo from the employee social channels to meet them where they’re at: on their phones. 

But, as we all know, the most underutilized medium is word-of-mouth. Reach out to your friends and IC champions across different departments, asking them to encourage their colleagues to attend.  

7. Know what makes your employees tick

What if you could plan out your events knowing that a percentage of your employee audience would be interested? Using our Insights feature, your organization can see the categories of your content, the portions of your employees are engaging with them, and even what content your employees want more of but aren’t receiving.

How does knowing your analytics better help you get employees to show up to events? Here’s a good example: If volunteer news and updates have a higher interest than professional development workshops, you could host a canned food drive this month. 

Our Category Opportunities feature tracks the content that your employees click on the most and provides internal comms teams with suggestions that your employees would enjoy. 

Learn more about how Cerkl can help you increase your event attendance, give your IC measurements a boost, and simplify content creation. 

Digital Content Coordinator

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