By Angela Zaltsman
Companies across the nation have seen employees transition from remote to hybrid to sometimes fully in-person work environments. Why? Because if the last three years have taught us anything, it is the value of being with one another.
Work culture and building employee engagement are often pointed to as the motivation behind a push for in-office facetime, but studies have shown that team events are the true catalyst for meaningful employee-employer relationships.
Team events offer not only an opportunity for employees to get together, but they motivate employees to reach goals, give people a sense of belonging, generate alignment across teams, and more. In a study by TravelPerk, they found that 79 per cent of employees look forward to building connections with their coworkers in-person through company events more than any other domain.
As we all know, the pandemic brought a halt to social gatherings in the name of public health and safety, but now, events are back and more important now than ever.
But with importance comes responsibilities, and with responsibilities comes challenges. Planning and executing an event is no easy feat, which is why it is critical to hire an event planner to help you along in the process.
Note we say event planner and not event committee, as there is an important distinction between the two. Sometimes in an effort to save costs, companies opt for a workplace event committee to be formed to take charge of the planning, actioning, and hosting of their corporate events.
But what many of these companies fail to realize is that where they save money in one area, they may be spending exorbitantly in another.
For example, professional event planners have existing relationships with vendors which makes the selection of furniture, linen, and décor not only a much smoother process, but often a much more economically sound one. Event planners leverage their relationships with vendors to get the best value on behalf of their clients.
Event planners also better understand the market value of the furniture/linen/décor you are trying to get your hands on, so they know where you’re getting a good deal and where you’re getting gouged. Even more importantly, event planners understand the cost of running an event in its entirety and what realistically to budget for venue, food and beverage, décor, entertainment, tech, etc. This knowledge can avoid many planning headaches and the need to continuously increase the event budget once set.
And these are just the financial costs. Companies can often be short-sighted and only see the price tag associated with a professional event planner without also acknowledging the human capital at play. In choosing to utilize an employee-led event committee over an event professional, valuable hours are being taken away from the work week of a team of staff. It is important to consider how much time it will take this team to internally plan this event, and what the cost associated with that is.
It is also worth considering if the choice of utilizing an event committee is effective – does the in-house team have the experience and expertise necessary to be able to plan and execute the event at a high level while also caring for their normal responsibilities? Events have a plethora of moving parts, and without event planning experience to help guide the planning process, it is inevitable that things will be missed. When things go astray, will the company have the budget to make up for these – often costly – mistakes? Who will be called to instantaneously handle these hiccups when they happen?
At the core of these corporate events is the desire to build employee engagement and foster a healthy company culture. But albeit well-intentioned to ask your employees to ban together to plan a company event, it is important to ask if employees even want to take on these extra duties associated with the planning and execution of an event. In today’s corporate climate where companies want to ensure their employees feel valued, expecting your staff to wear the hat of corporate worker and event planner may not be the way to go.
When hiring an event planner, companies can ensure there is less overall work internally, as well as certainty of seamless event planning and production. Let your employees do what they do best – their job. And let event professionals do the same.
Angela Zaltsman, CMP, is principal of A to Z Event Management. A to Z delivers complete event management services for corporate clients who desire the finest in service, quality and venues.