At Epoch we have put together a step-by-step Event Planning Playbook to help you plan and execute events seamlessly. Use this if you have zero event planning experience or if you want to brush up on your current approach.
Below you will find the most important steps and tips to create an excellent experience for any team or a company-wide event.
You will also find some highlighted key benefits and features Epoch offers to help automate the event planning process so you can focus on the fun part of creating and running the events. We know no one actually enjoys sending out multiple event reminders and calendar invites all day every day!
1. Event Ideation 💡
This is the best part of the event planning process as you can use your creativity to come up with unique and engaging event ideas to get your whole team involved.
- It’s a great idea to plan timely events based on holidays, special days, or monthly themes. If you are looking for a list of all the special days and monthly themes for the year, check them out here!
- A great tip is to crowdsource some event ideas from your fellow employees! Don’t be afraid to reach out to others as they are the ones who are actively attending your events. They may share some helpful ideas of what many employees would enjoy.
- If your company has ERGs, you should consider partnering up with them to support the logistics side of their event ideas.
- If you are still stuck on thinking of some event ideas, we can help you out! Here is a list of 100+ event ideas for some inspiration and to get you started.
2. Search for Vendors or Special Guests (if applicable) 👩💻
Some events may require you to send out supplies or gifts before the event. Many excellent vendors really help streamline this process since everyone has switched to virtual events.
- Make sure to do your research and read reviews to find the best vendors. Here’s a list of vendors to get you started in the search for supplied or employee swag ideas.
- 2a) Create a Google Form to collect relevant employee information (i.e. dietary restriction, new address, t-shirt sizes…). If you are going to be sending something out to confirmed attendees, be sure to collect their updated address as a lot of people have moved around since the pandemic. Your HRIS system may not be up to date with everyone’s addresses so remember to factor in some extra time to directly reach out personally to attendees
- If you are looking for a guest speaker to lead a panel discussion or an expert chef to lead a virtual cooking class, always book them early to avoid them getting fully booked. LinkedIn is a great place to find guest speakers or even see who other companies are getting for panel discussions, etc. You can also explore AirBnB Virtual Experiences for engaging classes or experiences
3. Gather Event Details 📝
Once you have your idea and have confirmed a vendor or special guest (if applicable), start planning out all of your event details and write out an event description that you will later share with your team. This will help paint a picture of what employees can expect and will help to convince them to confirm to the event.
Here are some event details you don’t want to forget to mention:
- Event description
- Date & time (timezone if applicable)
- Set time or opt-in anytime
- Virtual or in-person event (video link for virtual events or location for in-person events)
- If it’s a recurring event
- If it’s a public or a private event
- Guest speaker details (if applicable)
- The organization or ERG running the event
- Relevant links for pre-reads or additional information
- Prepare Google Form link to collect details beforehand
4. Write Event Communications to Promote it 📣
Once you have worked out all the event logistics and you are ready for employees to start signing up, it’s time to write the event communications.
- This involves a brief announcement of the upcoming event with a few major details and a call to action for employees to sign up for the event or learn more (usually a link).
- To get maximum engagement, ensure you promote the event and send out the event communications to employees on various platforms. This can include a company-wide newsletter, email, going direct to calendar, a company Intranet, or Slack (or equivalent platform). This will get the buzz going and ensure all employees are informed. You can also get a 2-5min slot for an upcoming company All-Hands or Town Hall to announce larger upcoming events
- If internal communications is an area you’re looking to enhance, consider Epoch. Epoch’s platform streamlines event communication and promotions. This means you can automatically pre-schedule event communications and reminders directly into Slack channels or send out employee calendar invites to all. The best part is that Epoch allows employees to directly confirm to events without leaving the Slack application. Epoch meets your employees where they already are.
5. Track Confirmed Employees 📈
Once your event has been promoted and shared with your team or company-wide, it’s time to start keeping track of those who have confirmed the event or are interested.
- If your event has limited capacity, make sure to accurately set up only a certain number of spots available and note that it is a first come first serve basis. Waiting Lists can also be considered.
- Many platforms, like Epoch, help you streamline this process of tracking confirmed employees and their information to remove this manual task off your plate and has Waiting List functionalities.
6. Send out Calendar Invites to Confirmed Employees 📅
- With the switch to remote work, Google Calendar (or any equivalent calendar system) has been everyone’s best friend to organize all the video calls, meetings, and events virtually. Since the majority of employees are familiar with using their company Calendar, it is effective to slide into the calendars of your confirmed attendees to invite employees into events or help remind them of the upcoming events.
- To note, the Epoch Platform and Calendaring are synced. Meaning when employees confirm an event, they are automatically sent a calendar invite for the event and can see the other attendees (option to hide list available). This will save you from having to manually send out a calendar invite to each person.
7. Create a Slack Channel for the Event 🗣
- If your team uses Slack (or similar platforms), create a channel dedicated to your event to help create a buzz before the event and where you can answer any questions employees have. It also helps to start a great conversation as employees get to know each other and are excited about the upcoming event.
- Consider keeping the channel alive even after the event to keep the conversation going. This is also a great idea for recurring events, like a weekly meditation class, where employees can share what they learned and want to practice next time.
8. Send out Event Reminders ⏰
One of the most important steps is reminding employees that the event that they signed up for is coming up! The last thing you want to happen is that you go through all the effort in planning and executing the event, but a ton of employees forgot to come!
- Channels to leverage are: Slack (or similar platforms), email, and company meetings.
- It is best to send out at least one event reminder within two days of the event. The most common reminder time frame is 2 days before, 1 day before, or 10 minutes before the event.
- Sometimes it can be hard to remember to send these reminders, so as a busy event planner you are constantly setting personal reminders to send out event reminders to employees. Epoch’s platform alleviates all of this stress by sending out event reminders automatically to all confirmed attendees. All you have to do is set and forget.
9. Record the Event (if applicable) 🎥
For virtual events (and in-person events hopefully soon) make sure to record the event for those who couldn’t attend and/or are in another timezone (for global teams).
- This way even though some weren’t able to attend synchronously, they still have the opportunity to be a part of the event afterward and still get the experience.
- If you have a large global team in various time zones, consider a screening for each timezone to watch the recording and have a real-time conversation with others who are also watching it for the first time. If you are unable to do a screening, you can post the event recording in a communication platform like Slack to give access to those who want to watch it.
10. Track Attendance & Create Event Metric Report 📊
To ensure that your events are successful and are helping your employees feel more connected and engaged, it’s a good idea to track attendance and key metrics for each of your events.
- These insights will help you determine what events were the most successful and what events allowed employees to engage well with their co-workers or the featured guests.
- Some key metrics to track are: total participation, monthly participation, unique participation, recurring participation, attendance based on event category, # of events, etc.
- Epoch is a great option if you are also looking for in-depth analytical reports (i.e. which teams or regions are most engaged, what type of events are most popular) on your event performance. With Epoch, you don’t have to worry about tracking anything! just the planning and execution of the event.
11. Prepare Survey to Collect Feedback from Attendees After the Event 📋
Since you are creating and planning these events for your team, the most valuable information you can gather is right from them.
- You will want to reach out and ask important questions to the event attendees to ensure they are enjoying the events and why.
- This will help you prioritize what event types and themes are the most successful so you don’t waste time planning events that your team isn’t interested in. By collecting feedback from your team they will also feel heard and they may even suggest event ideas that you haven’t even thought about.
- It can be daunting to have to create a feedback form for every single event and sending them out to all the event attendees each time. This is where Epoch can come in to save you time and automate the feedback collection process. Epoch also sends out Employee Feedback Reports (automatically via Slack and email) to help you digest and understand the feedback data to help improve your future team events.
12. Post Event Communications ❤️
- After the event has taken place, it’s always a good idea to send some follow-up communication to the event attendees. It can be something as simple as a thank you to all the attendees, a link to the event recording if applicable or if it is a recurring event let the attendees know when the next one is.
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