It’s not unusual to find a company that has hired a coach to take its employees to a seminar, conference or simple social event but who have subsequently been disappointed with the results.
Here we’ll examine some of the common causes and their solutions.
Poor turnout / response to invitation
This is a commonly expressed frustration in many organizing departments.
Ignoring mechanical causes (such as poor communication of the “we weren’t told” variety or insufficient notice) this is often attributable to:
low morale in the company;
a lack of interest in the event concerned;
conflicting priorities (your event has been scheduled at a time which clashes with other things).
There is no easy answer to this and simply making attendance mandatory isn’t likely to be the answer. You may need to analyse the causes in more detail.
Dissatisfaction with the quality of transport
In the 21st century, professional people expect corporate transport to be modern and comfortable.
If an “old banger” of a coach arrives at the outset, then already your session is in trouble due to creating the wrong impression.
Be prepared to spend a little money here to get a comfortable limo bus.
Impacting personal lives
Today, most people expect and demand a professional / personal life balance.
So, anticipate dissatisfaction and disgruntled attendees if they’ve had to get up at 4am to make your planned departure time and/or they won’t be getting back home until the early hours of the morning.
A luxury coach might help alleviate some of this through comfort during the journey but it won’t, in itself, be the solution.
Impacting professional lives
On a similar theme to the above, asking people to get back very late to their homes, while expecting them to be back in the office at 8am and firing on all cylinders, is likely to be a recipe for ill-feeling.
Provide or arrange for refreshments
If people have been asked to get up unusually early and been on a coach for some time, then it’s really good psychology to provide (or stop for) some refreshments.
A little caffeine and a calories boost can ensure people arrive at the destination eager to get started rather than tired, jaded and looking for reasons to complain.
Ideally, your corporate event should be so desirable by its very nature that your colleagues should be fighting for the chance to participate.
Only use “attendance is mandatory” approaches as an absolute last resort, as touched on earlier.
If you see a lack of interest and voluntary participation, something is wrong and a re-think is required. People typically don’t respond well to being forced to attend company events.
Relate to the wider world
Remember that a corporate event will be seen by many against a much broader backdrop of the wider business world you share with your colleagues.
So, expect a very negative reception for (e.g.) a company team-building exercise held at an expensive external venue, if just a few days before the company has announced major ancillary benefits cuts for employees due to the prevailing economic circumstances.