7 Must-Read Tips for Employee Engagement Events


SEQ has been producing incredible employee engagement events for LinkedIn since 2011

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Let’s face it: Whether employees are primarily on-site or online, our increasingly digital-first world can leave team members feeling isolated and disengaged. 

This is immediately apparent in today’s hybrid-heavy workplace: Recent Microsoft research showed that over 50% of hybrid and remote employees feel lonelier at work than they did when they were in the office every day. Remote workers told Microsoft that they rarely have strong relationships outside of their direct teams, and leaders said relationship-building is the greatest challenge in today’s workplace.

On the flip side, the report notes, employees who have strong relationships with colleagues report higher productivity, satisfaction, and creativity—and are less likely to change employers in the year ahead. 

Enter: events! Employee engagement events can significantly impact an organization's success by boosting morale, enhancing team cohesion, and driving productivity. According to American Express’s 2024 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, in fact, internal meetings—which include company offsites, incentive trips, and other engagement-focused gatherings—are expected to see the strongest growth in attendee numbers this year, and 47% of them will include social activities and networking opportunities. 

SEQ is proud to have produced meaningful annual employee engagement events for a number of longtime clients. Here are some of our tips for getting it right.

1. Start with strategy

When SEQ was producing a tech company’s multi-day, company-wide off-site, we leaned into our analytics-first discovery process. That means everything we do is seen through the lens of “why?”—why are we gathering these people, at this time, for this type of event?

We quickly identified four main objectives: to give employees a chance to bond, to generate a sense of FOMO, to promote brand-building, and to ensure all team members were aligned on the company’s mission. With these ROI benchmarks in mind, we kicked off our analytical approach, surveying a wide variety of global employees to identify some main themes and activities for the gathering.

2. Put yourself in your attendees’ shoes

Ask yourself: Who are my primary attendees, and what might be keeping them from feeling fully engaged in the workplace? From there, consider offering a variety of on-site activities that can cater to different interests and needs. 

The tech company’s engagement event, for example, devoted about 50% of its time to mandatory activities and programming—but the other half let attendees choose from a variety of activities that spoke to their own personality types and learning styles, along with their interests, physical activities, and comfort levels. Options ranged from ax-throwing, dance classes, and kickball to tie-dye stations, aromatherapy bars, and tarot reading.

3. Consider the location and other experience design elements

Consider the event’s setting and design elements. Does it have the potential to disrupt employees’ usual patterns, spark conversation, promote bonding, or leave lasting memories? This doesn’t always require the bells and whistles of a luxury incentive trip. Often, it can just mean stepping out of the traditional conference room to a spot bathed in natural sunlight, organizing a collective visit to a dining spot or cultural landmark, or incorporating an engaging design theme or interactive experience that promotes conversation and shared memories.

4. Build anticipation

Once you have the agenda and themes in place, it’s time to get attendees excited. To promote a recent employee engagement event, SEQ started pre-event communications early, leaning into ideas like teaser videos and a dedicated Slack channel where attendees could crowdsource their questions and share their excitement. Employees also received a steady cadence of emails that both generated excitement and informed them of updates—all spruced up with fun GIFs and emojis to set the scene for the event’s playful tone. 

5. Focus on connection and inclusivity

Employee events should feel genuine and aim to foster real connections—particularly between departments. At SEQ-produced employee events, we like to facilitate unique groupings of employees who don’t typically work together, both to create tradition and to organically introduce people to those not in their own orbits.

With the rise of remote and hybrid work models, it's important that events cater to all employees, regardless of their location. To celebrate a wealth management company’s return to the office in 2022, for example, SEQ hosted a series of surprise and delight moments in the main HQ—but also arranged for 80+ other offices to receive a “party in a box” to feel included in the festivities. 

6. Offer opportunities for professional development and new company-wide traditions

Employees appreciate events that offer personal or professional development opportunities, whether through workshops, guest speakers, or the chance to get to know senior leadership in a more intimate way. These events can also be a great place to publicly celebrate achievements, milestones, and individual contributions through things like award programs.

Things like talent shows and friendly competition can also boost morale and motivation year-round. For a fintech company’s virtual engagement event, for example, SEQ produced creative segments like a “Funniest Home Videos” segment that gave employees a glimpse into each other’s lives outside of work. Other highlights of the virtual event included improv sessions, Bingo, Pictionary, meditation, a coffee workshop, and a branded gif booth.

7. Gather feedback—and actually listen to it

An employee engagement event is for the employees, so they should have a say in it! Our best advice? Identify a super-curated subcommittee to use as a planning sounding board, to identify having too many voices with conflicting ideas. This committee will ideally include key company stakeholders and leaders, of course, but also culture owners within the organization who can represent the voice of a typical employee in various departments. And after the event, be sure to use surveys or informal feedback mechanisms to understand what works and what doesn't for future years.