Welcome back to our Blog series focused on Year End functions, helping you to end your year with a massive success. The following tips will help you get there with swag and everyone tapping you on the back afterwards saying “wow… it was awesome!”
1. Anticipation and participation
Have you ever had a Year End Function for this company? How was it? Was everyone excited about it? Did they attend because it was mandatory or did they attend because they couldn’t stand missing out on the event?
Creating a buzz of excitement around your Year End is crucial for it to be successful. You need everyone to talk about it, get excited, get on board and ultimately, show up! If you can accomplish this, the battle is halfway won.
How do you do this? Firstly, you’ll have to come up with a kick-ass invitation. Don’t go the normal route of a boring email. Have someone dress up and hand out themed personalized invitations or make a small video of the CEO personally inviting everyone and just giving away enough information to make it clear but also mysterious. The whole idea is to get everyone interested. We’re creating a snowball, momentum (office chit-chat) will take care of the rest!
2. Basic elements
a. Location – The venue is probably the most important aspect to consider. Shop around for prices and availability, book early if you have a specific place in mind. There’s amazing specials around, like the one Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa is running. The location, size of the venue and ambiance are all points to ponder.
b. Food – It doesn’t have to be 6-course meal, but consider the time of day, weather and number of guests attending. Will it be a sit-down, or a canape – affair? Have options available for vegetarians and vegans, and if anyone has any allergies, convey this information well in advance to the caterers (make sure you have this on record).
c. Drinks – Variety is the spice of life, and with beverages this is also true! Make sure you have alcoholic and non-alcoholic welcoming drinks, and if you’re having a late night, a coffee station is always sought after.
d. Theme – oh yes, DO have a theme! Depending on the company culture, you can even request everyone dress according to the theme. This is lots of fun and you’ll be surprised by the energy it creates before and during the Year End Function! If you don’t want to dress up, fine, but at least have a theme throughout the decorations.
e. Entertainment – Our tip would be to intertwine entertainment with your theme. If you have a beach-party theme, hire a marimba band. If you’re doing a 007-theme, have a modern jazz band! Always have a DJ with all the favorites. Not only to keep the party going after dessert have been served, but also to assure that there’s no hiccups when it comes to speech-time.
3. Take Basic to the BEST
The level of excitement over the event, will greatly depends on WHAT you do with the above mentioned basics. You need to think outside the box and go beyond what you usually do or what everyone will be expecting. I’ll demonstrate by using an example of a Miami-themed Year End Function. Would you rather walk towards the entrance on pavement, or with your sandals in your hand because there’s a beach of sand you have to cross to get inside?
The same principle goes for food and drink. Would you rather stand in a row to get served a beer at a bar, or would you rather stand in a circle around an energetic mixologist teaching you how to make the perfect fishbowl cocktail? Put some thought into how can you up the game at every turn? Have beautifully plated food that will make people take out their phones to take pictures of! Make sure the entertainment engages with your audience to make it more fun and memorable. It won’t hurt if you hire a photographer for the evening to capture all these moments.
4. Take care of formalities
The deeper meaning and reasoning for a Year End Function is to recognize the hard work and successes of employees, but also to define company values and leadership vision (read last weeks blog for more information). For this to happen, you have to identify the awards and rewards you want to bestow (we’ll discuss this subject in 2 week’s time) and get the CEO to have his speech ready. Make sure you have someone who will thank the CEO after he/ she has given their speech and don’t forget the ‘token of our appreciation’ – this will go a long way!
This is where you have to make sure you have a professional at hand to do the proper sound checks to assure the equipment works 100%! You don’t want to humiliate the boss!
Depending on the location of the venue an the time and duration of the function, you’ll have to consider transport to get everyone home safely. If it is a starry night event, the ideal is to have everyone sleep over so that no unfortunate accidents occur.
Send the location pin to everyone’s phones so that no one gets lost along the way. Have a designated person(or persons) everyone can call if they’re uncertain of the route, especially if the venue is a hidden gem!
All this said and done, it is important to remember the 5 P’s of Stephen Keague: “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance”. The more effort that goes into the planning, the better the outcome will be. Good luck on planning your Year End Function!