How to nail your new year kick-off event

Starting off the new year can be daunting–whether you’re catching up from the holidays or still sorting out your approach to hybrid work, it’s important to start the year off on the right note. Nailing a kick-off event that aligns your team’s priorities and strategy, builds team morale, and comes in on budget, is a sure-fire way to ensure your team gets started on the right track this year.

We’ve compiled a kick-off event guide to help the nominated event planners at every small business achieve a well-organised and ‘morale-boosting’ get-together, even if you’re late to the planning party, so to speak.

Picking the perfect venue

Budget and location – the first two hurdles. But which to tackle first? Your best bet is to determine your budget first; whether you’re working with $500 or $5,000, your budget is going to steer the ship for every element of your event, including venue, catering, decorations, and activities.

Once a budget is set, move on to selecting the venue. The event location may not be everything, but the atmosphere is. The venue sets the stage for your event in a big way, and a kick-off event is the time and place you set the mood and agenda for the year to come. Time to get creative and inspired!

Consider what kind of sessions you’ll need to conduct. Will there be presentations or speeches? Will any team members join virtually? Do you need a screen or projector? Will you conduct breakout groups and need multiple rooms? Consider your catering plans and get this sorted early, so you can spend more time thinking about creating a unique and interesting experience that all the employees will enjoy.

A unique space with dynamic lighting, structure or views helps create an extra special experience. Why not opt for more unexpected spaces such as a rooftop, creative loft, or a stunning home to delight and inspire your team? There are plenty of options to suit all budgets – plus, they can also be rented by the hour, making them a cost-effective alternative for teams under budget constraints.

Incorporating a theme into the venue

Themes might feel like they belong at company parties, but they don’t have to! Get creative and choose a theme that identifies with the message you want to get across during the event. If your sales team is shooting for the moon, why not go for an outer space theme? Likewise, if it’s a ‘kick-off’ event, you could lean in on the sporting metaphor and have everyone rock their team’s jersey, and introduce a bit of friendly competition.

Getting your colleagues on board for a fun theme can create a great bonding experience and bring your event to another level. A theme contributes to the entire appeal of the party and encourages colleagues to get into the spirit. Table décor and lighting are elements to customise your event without breaking the bank. Be sure to see what the standard decor is in the space and look at add-ons from the host for even more convenience.

Keeping employees engaged in the venue

Incorporating an activity into your kick-off event can be the perfect way to keep everyone engaged, especially when you need to break up the day in between presentations and strategy meetings. While ‘trust-building’ activities might induce plenty of eyerolls, a theme-centric game could be a great way to build morale and camaraderie.

If hiring a venue with a bar, you can splurge and enjoy a fun cocktail hour once the presentations are done! Make sure you have options for everyone’s preferences – sending out a team or company survey beforehand to ensure you have the right choices, including beer, wine, spirits, or non-alcoholic alternatives.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed gathering, look for a venue with large dining and seating areas. These spaces are built for sit-down conversations and casual dining, making them perfect for collaborative sessions and comradery building.

No matter what you’re planning, be sure to check the venue’s guidelines along with our social event policy and community guidelines and share all of the details with the host to ensure your event is the right fit for their space.

Zachary Hill, is Marketing Manager at Peerspace.

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