How employee engagement events can help futureproof your business

May 24

The Cold, Hard Facts About Work

Assuming you work for 8 hours a day and sleep another 8 hours (well, we all know we should ), you will spend half of your waking day in the workplace. According to RealSociology, that means - factoring in annual leave, etc. - the average person will spend over 90,000 hours of their lives at work. That’s 35% of your waking hours over a 50-year working life.

The culture of a workplace has a real impact on employees, and that in turn impacts your business. Unhappy employees are less productive, take more sick days, and have a higher rate of turnover.

Engaging People Through Recognition Events

It’s no coincidence that the best companies to work for are among the most successful. Companies listed on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list perform nearly two times better in stock returns, with 65% lower rates of staff turnover.

But creating a great company culture isn’t a matter of investing in a pool table or offering ‘dress-down Fridays’. You can’t bring about real positive change half-heartedly. Change must come from a genuine and visible demonstration of gratitude. And how can we demonstrate gratitude? Through recognition.

There are many ways to demonstrate recognition within your workplace culture. The most simple being just saying ‘thank you’. Offering specific and genuine gratitude to employees (and encouraging people to do the same with their colleagues) when they have worked hard, performed well, supported one another, or otherwise acted in a way which exemplifies your company’s values is fundamental in ensuring people feel valued at work. As is remunerating them well with good pay, benefits, and flexible working arrangements.

Another strategy is through events. Many of the live and hybrid events we work on form part of our clients’ ‘Employee Engagement’ strategy. These events come in all shapes and sizes, from meeting rooms of 30 to stadiums of 5,000. We work on formal business meetings, outdoor festival-style events, and glamorous awards shows, to name a few. What do all these events have in common? They’re all about bringing people together and making each one feel like a valued and important member of a community.

Reward Success

Company Awards are a straight-to-the-point way to thank and recognise your employees. Awards can be a great way to motivate and encourage staff. They set clear benchmarks for excellence and publicly demonstrate recognition which is specific, measurable, and - therefore - meaningful. While people sometimes like to dismiss company awards as a bit naff, we work at a lot of these gigs and we’ll let you in on a secret - on the whole, people really love being handed a trophy.

Get Personal

Events work to break down barriers of corporate hierarchy. In a large business, the annual conference may be the only time an on-the-ground employee lays eyes on the Exec Team. Stark divisions between senior leadership and the rest of the workforce can exist in even small businesses. Events humanise both the ‘faceless management’ and the ‘workers’ and encourage people, from across the business, to view themselves as part of one team.

Use events to get closer to your people: share a drink, shake some hands, and express your gratitude. A ‘thank you’ from the management feels a lot more authentic when it comes straight from the horse’s mouth.

Have Some Fun!

Your people work hard, and the likelihood is it isn’t going to be a laugh a minute. With 90,000 working hours on the clock, can’t we afford to dedicate a little time to fun?

Annual parties, activity days, regular socials, or even casual after-work drinks: when you make a little effort to show your employees a good time every now and again you achieve two things. First, you help to create a sense of community within the workplace - very important, as we well know. Second, you communicate a strong message that the company cares about its employees. Value is placed not just on performance, but on the happiness and harmony of the team.

Futureproofing your business

Today’s workforce is increasingly dominated by Millennials and Gen Z who are expected to work for longer than any previous generations. With the knowledge that a nice long retirement may not be on the cards for them, these groups have high expectations from their employers, calling for good wages, flexible arrangements, healthy and inclusive cultures, and strong commitment to CSR. And they’re willing to walk if these needs are not met. The practice of ‘Job Hopping’ is on the rise and Gen Z are the cohort most likely to quit if they’re unsatisfied at work.

A wise business knows you ignore your employees’ happiness at your peril. A listless, frustrated, unhappy workforce isn't only less productive - they do real harm to your business.

And, there are great rewards to be reaped by forward-thinking employers. Demonstrating gratitude is one of the simplest, most cost-effective strategies of creating a desirable workplace and will attract and retain the best talent.

While we may not have our own awards show (you need more than 5 staff to pull that off, really) we do like to think that we have created a positive ‘thank you culture’ here at brightfive. Whether it’s face-to-face feedback, a staff day out, an extra day off, or a bonus - we try to ensure that when our people work hard, perform well, and take on challenges, their efforts are rewarded in kind. This is because we believe that recognized employees - employees who feel respected, responsible, and rewarded - are an asset. Gratitude is, after all, a two-way street. Employees who feel appreciated will show their gratitude in turn by working harder, caring more, and by staying with you.