Now that the holidays are well behind us and we’ve recovered from party season, I want to talk about human resources and employee parties. In many organizations, human resources is responsible for planning company parties. And many human resources professionals view planning parties as a degrading part of their job.
Let me offer a different point of view on this subject. I believe planning a party is okay – as long as it’s not the only thing I do. In my career, I planned parties, but I also attended the P&L meeting. I was responsible for a strategy, budget, and reforecasting. While planning parties was part of my job, it certainly wasn’t the part that defined me.
The goal of an employee event isn’t to just plan the party. The purpose of the party is to reward and recognize employees. So the goal is to make the event engaging. HR has the opportunity to get other managers and employees involved. They can solicit feedback about how employees would like to be recognized. Yes, the event logistically needs to happen, but there’s an opportunity to do other things.
Last year, I attended the BlogHer Pro conference where a speaker talked about making events “Instagrammable”. The idea being that the event would be more fun and engaging if it were planned with Instagram users in mind. The speaker was referring to customer events, but it made me wonder if the concept could also apply to employee events. Here were a few things that came to mind:
- Put the company logo on display. I once worked for a company that gave employees a holiday gift. We would put together gift ideas and the CEO would select one. Every year, he would pick the biggest item. I finally asked why he chose the largest item and he said, “because our logo is biggest”. It’s okay to do a little marketing during employee events.
- Include lots of color and brightness! Make it fun with bright colors and images. They look terrific in photos and people will want to capture them on their cameras. Create backdrops that make employees want to take selfies or team photos in front of. I’ve been to a few restaurants lately that have designated “selfie” areas and old school photo booths. Consider bringing those elements to encourage photo taking.
- Order photogenic food. People like taking pictures of their food. Embrace the trend by making food photograph worthy. The first thing that comes to mind – cupcakes! Put the company logo on cupcakes or cookies!
- Create a photo scavenger hunt. Years ago, I was responsible for creating an annual photo scavenger hunt for the management team. The executives loved this event and were very involved in the preparations. They wanted the managers to have a good time. When I think about the event, I would love to plan it today with the technology tools available.
- Allow employees to share images. Of course, make sure employees know if there are areas that cannot be photographed for security or confidentiality reasons. Allowing employees to share in the fun of working for your organization can be a benefit. Maybe create a company hashtag #YOURCOMPANYNAME so it’s searchable. Showing the world that your company is a fun place to work isn’t a terrible thing.
IMHO, planning parties isn’t a demeaning task. In fact, if done properly, it can be challenging. And if you embrace the job, you can build working relationships and learn about your workforce.
Oh, and P.S. You may be thinking, “This is a cool idea, but I’d love to test drive it on a private community.” Well, FoKo is a private photo sharing and messaging community for your company. It’s available on iTunes, Google Play, and for desktops. Check it out.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby