10 Corporate Event Ideas to Build Employee Engagement

Dasa Kasparova

Keeping your employees engaged is a must-do for any company that wants to thrive.

Luckily, there are many ways to go about it, and corporate events are your best bet here.

A well-planned event can help encourage cross-team collaboration and engagement at your workplace.

Get inspired by these creative corporate event ideas that will energize your team, foster togetherness and make people look forward to coming to work.

1. Demo day

In a company with a fast pace of innovation, staying updated on the news can be a struggle. To address this, consider presenting your latest developments regularly during live sessions.

We organize these so-called Demo days on a bi-weekly basis and invite the whole company to join. The main purpose is to give a first-hand demonstration of the newest features in production to our client-facing teams.

It’s a session full of interaction, feedback, and addressing questions. It allows our dev teams to gauge the first impressions of the features and enables our success teams to get a better understanding of the product.

Learn more about how we run it: Demo Day: Why and How to Connect Product and Customer Success Teams.

2. Hackathon

Have you heard of hackathons? These started out as coding marathons originally, but have now successfully spread into the events space as well as the workplace. The main idea is to bring together people of different backgrounds to collaborate on a project and bring it to life in a limited time, usually several hours or days.

One of our hackathon teams working on their idea during our bi-annual corporate hackathon.

In our experience, company hackathons are the ultimate drivers of team morale. They give your team members a break from their usual job duties and allow them to work on their own ideas, however crazy or ambitious, with the people they normally don’t work with.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

To pull off a successful hackathon, you’ll need a few things:

  • The ability to put regular work on hold for 1-3 days on a company level
  • Clear guidelines and rules
  • Pizza, drinks or other refreshments to support the teams while they hustle
  • Prizes for the winners

Still not convinced? See what benefits our first internal company hackathon brought us and find out how to make your hackathon more interactive.

3. World Café

World Café is a facilitated group discussion focused on knowledge-sharing. The topics can be agreed on in advance, or they can be co-created by the participants – whatever works best for your scenario.

In the workplace, it’s an excellent way to tap into your employees’ collective potential. Besides generating creative ideas for your business, it helps people learn from others by listening to their experience and perspectives.

We apply this concept widely at our learning sessions and offsites.

You can either let people pitch the topics they’d like to discuss or have them choose from a pre-prepared list. Slido can be very helpful here as people can easily submit their ideas for everyone to see, and vote for the ones they like.

Our employees’ votes for various World Café topics at Slido offsite.

To pull it off successfully, remember to appoint facilitators who will moderate the group discussions. A good practice is also to summarize the key outcomes the groups have reached to amplify the learning for everyone.

4. Office quiz

Take a popular pub quiz format and apply it to the work environment. That’s how you can get your own trivia game and engage the whole team.

You can think of it as a fun ending to your workshop or as a standalone activity for company retreats. Include some fun company facts like:

  • How many people joined our company in 2018?
  • What’s the distance between HQ and our most remote team member?
  • What was the initial name of our company?

If you want to involve your remote teams, consider using a digital tool for your quiz. We recently used Kahoot! and asked our remote colleagues to form a team, discussing the correct answers in a dedicated Zoom room.

Extra tip: Make sure your most competitive team members aren’t all on the same team. Approach them up-front and ask them to be the captains and create their own teams.

5. Expert interviews or fire-side chats

Live inspiration is 10 times better than the one found online. If you know that some of your clients or industry experts have some great lessons to share, invite them for a fireside chat.

Lucia Sickova, a Slovak entrepreneur as a guest of our fireside chat.

Hearing from an established specialist or an inspiring company is a great motivation booster. It brings new perspectives on problem-solving and doing things in your workplace.

When planning the guest interviews, don’t forget to allow time for interaction and give your employees a chance to ask the speaker their questions. You can do so easily via Slido.

Related: 3 Initiatives that Help Us Build a Learning Culture at Slido

6. Lunch and learn

Lunch and learn is a popular concept that merges the laid-back lunch atmosphere with learning and networking. The main idea is to use a weekly lunch break for internal knowledge sharing and team bonding.

There’s usually one team member who presents while the rest listen and learn over a catered lunch. It can be anything from a project they’ve been working on to a hobby they’re enthusiastic about.

These sessions give everyone a chance to get to know their colleagues better and gain an appreciation for each other’s work. What’s more, they help with personal development as people can practice their public speaking skills in a low-stakes environment.

7. International days

For each of the 365 days in the calendar, there is a global day of something. Take note of important celebrations or awareness days and think about how your company can participate in them.

It can be a fun event to engage your team on a worldwide initiative that will give the right signal to both your employees and the public about the issues you’re active in.

For example, we joined the Global work from home day  to support our colleagues working remotely and to experience the ups and downs of remote work on our own. It was a great lesson for our onsite team members who realized that what’s normal for them is a huge perk for their colleagues who’re miles away.

8. Company breakfast

Office breakfast is an easy way to get your employees to mix and mingle. It doesn’t take too much time to organize and gives people an opportunity to catch up with colleagues they don’t normally talk with. This, in return, fosters better connections in your workplace.

People sitting around a table and chatting.
The members of our engineering, partnerships and success teams chatting over the office breakfast.

We usually organize an all-company breakfast when some of our remote colleagues are visiting the HQ. It’s important that they have a chance to interact with their teammates in person after talking to them via video calls from across the world.

If you have any foodies on your team, invite them to chip in with their own recipes or homemade goods. This will make your colleagues even more excited about the event.

9. Contests and challenges

If you’re looking to bring more fun into everyday work and stir up a bit of competition, contests are a safe bet. The most popular are photo contests – the best holiday photo, the best work-from-home setup, the funniest team selfie, etc.

Simply ask your employees to post their pictures to a dedicated Slack channel or send them to you via direct messages. Feature the winner in your company newsletter or on the intranet.

A weekly photo challenge of our remote team members on Slack.

Challenges are a bit harder to carry out but can be ever so rewarding. Last year, we ran a 30-day plank challenge that required about a minute a day to participate. A great nudge to stretch one’s muscles every day.

You can also take on whatever challenge is trending at the moment. Our Americas team joined the mannequin challenge and shot a hilarious video during their offsite. As it took place around Halloween, it was a perfect opportunity to blend the two themes.

10. Surprise treats

Know a better refresher than a midday sweet treat? Use your imagination here and indulge your employees even on a regular day, instead of keeping it exclusive to parties and birthdays.

You can order an ice-cream cart or smoothie station or offer a coffee tasting. We guarantee the show-up rate will be high, as well as your employees’ endorphin levels.

And that’s a wrap. The only question that remains is: Which of these corporate event ideas are you going to try? Whichever you choose, we wish you good luck and lots of fun!

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