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Party Time! Seven Tips for Designing Your Next Employee Experience

Party Time! Seven Tips for Designing Your Next Employee Experience

Our top seven tips for designing employee celebrations.
In the modern workplace, employee events have transformed into immersive journeys where grand holiday parties, captivating return-to-office campus experiences, and cherished Founder's Days weave together a tapestry of engagement and belonging.

As the workforce settles into a hybrid model and we approach the year’s end, organizations are again investing in employee experiences. Engagement and belonging among employees are more important than ever, and the power of celebration cannot be underrated, especially when it comes to recognition and good old-fashioned fun. 

Our 2024 report, Annual Study: What Attendees Want from Their Next Sales Kickoff, proves that, compared to previous years, attendees shifted their priorities to celebration, recognition, and friendly competition.

Last year, attendees strongly emphasized networking, particularly for the social opportunities embedded within the event. This emphasis was driven by a desire for human connection after a prolonged period of virtual meetings. Additionally, the youngest members of the workforce commenced their careers in a fully remote work environment, heightening their eagerness to engage in networking opportunities. Now that hybrid models are more common, with many employers requiring a partial return to the office, the need for connection has lessened, and celebration has taken its place.

Similarly, there is a re-prioritization of play. At the epicenter of belonging and joy, where individuals enjoy being their most authentic selves, “play” has the power to surprise and delight attendees while immersing them in curated spaces that achieve the event objective. 

As companies ramp up their plans for year-end events and holiday parties, we hold a central belief:

Great employee experiences bolster culture, facilitate play, and catalyze movements.

To achieve this, brands should be hyper-intentional about how they design the experience. Let’s delve into seven emerging trends that are shaping the landscape of modern employee engagement. 

Prioritizing Play: Inspiration and Trends

Today’s businesses are more remote, equitable, diverse, inclusive, accessible, technically savvy, and generation-rich than ever before. This has companies asking big questions: How do we accelerate and succeed in this new reality? How do connect and celebrate our employees in a way that resonates with all team members?

Today’s workforce has a team-first mindset, and overwhelmingly, employees want community, collaboration, and healthy competition. As a result, the future of employee experiences will be one that openly shares comradery and connection between team-centric individuals. 

Let’s dive into some inspiration and trends that will prioritize play at your event, ensuring that your attendees experience the perfect blend of celebration, connection, belonging, and joy.

Personalized Swag Experiences

Build cultural membership with personalized swag experiences. Encourage attendees to connect and engage with each other while collecting swag by adding an extra layer of personalization. 

  • Welcome kits with scalable gifts
  • Bespoke screen-printed t-shirts
  • Personalized sustainable accessories

Participative Imprinting

Drive connective action with participative imprinting. Invite attendees to leave their mark and connect through various interactive activations and cultural initiatives. 

  • Collaborative art installations
  • Mood board
  • Book exchange
  • Recipe sharing

Sample the Local Dives

Integrate a surprise F&B experience for attendees to take a break and enjoy local cuisine together. 

  • Dessert carts and ice cream socials
  • Food trucks feature the local favorites
  • Unique tasting flight experiences curated by local chefs
  • Fika-inspired coffee and pastry breaks

Wellness at the Forefront

Remind attendees that their health and wellness are top priorities by providing activities, activations, and pop-ups to care for their mental and physical well-being. 

  • Immersive meditative activations
  • Pop-up yoga or mat pilates class
  • Soundbaths
  • Community sunrise run
  • Health shot elixir bar

Embark on the Endless Adventure

Hit the town as a team for a well-earned social night out, fostering connections while experiencing some of the unique offerings in the destination. 

  • Night market food crawl
  • Roller disco
  • Escape room
  • Team karaoke
  • Local events

Happiest Hour

Give attendees a chance to unwind and reconnect with peers IRL over a drink at an end-of-day “happiest hour,” with a unique atmosphere to enjoy the office and each other. 

  • Transport attendees into an immersive, themed happy hour party
  • Live music from an up-and-coming local artist (see some of our faves)
  • Signature cocktails and mocktails brought by a renowned local mixologist
  • Bring the party outdoors with ambient firepit vignettes
  • Unique photo booth activation and corresponding raffle

Celebrate Achievements

Survey says attendees want companies to bring recognition and appreciation as an event priority to highlight successes, both throughout the year and event-specific, to increase motivation and boost morale. 

  • Classic “employee/salesperson of the year” awards
  • Company and personnel milestone celebrations
  • Costume contests during an evening event
  • Scavenger hunts and escape rooms 
  • Team appreciation walls (where attendees post notes of gratitude for their peers)

By embracing these trends, companies will cultivate vibrant cultures, spark creativity, and drive meaningful interactions at their employee celebrations. In a remote work environment where teams crave connectivity, these trends offer inspiration for crafting experiences that resonate with employees' intrinsic motivations and aspirations.  Ultimately, the power of celebration, play, and connection cultivates thriving workplaces where employees can truly flourish.

Ready to party? Let’s go! 

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