How to evaluate the success of enterprise corporate event? Would you rather know or guess?
“Do you guess or know what are the customer needs?” it’s a question very often asked in sales departments. The aim is to verify whether the seller understands the needs of his client. We would like to ask a similar question in the context of internal corporate event evaluation. Do you guess or know that your event was valuable for employees and the whole company?
Where does the idea to ask this question come from? The answer is from the experience of working with our partners from the enterprise sector. Internal events play a key role in building a culture within the company. Thus, information about whether they are valuable to employees or not is necessary for the organizers, as they spend 30% of the marketing budgets on the event marketing activity.
Why are corporate events organized? What are event goals?
Internal events are becoming more and more popular. Large companies organize events for their employees to build the culture inside the company. At this point, it is worth considering what actually it means. Primarily, it’s the relationship, effective communication between employees. Moreover, corporate culture includes all kinds of support that employees receive in terms of their self and career development. An internal culture stimulates employee participation in creating a consistent brand by engaging them to share feedback and their ideas, learn about company values and (what is very important) represent and identify with them. Finally, the company’s culture is a commitment to the company and the community and a mindset consistent with its external marketing communication. That means that each employee feels the connection and represents message which the company presents to the public.
Why is it so important? It has a strong and real impact on business development. Live meetings cannot be replaced by communication on Slack, Google Hangouts or Skype. No online conversation can provide the emotions accompanying live events. As a result of the evolving culture, employees spend more time in the company and on face-to-face talks. Therefore, and above all, communication between them is strongly improving. They get to know each other and automatically mutual understanding grows along with the work efficiency in the team. Thanks to this, there are fewer conflicts and misunderstandings in the process of working on projects, thus closing them is more efficient with less budget.
We cannot pass over the factor of competition. Development, progressiveness and innovation are a constant race against our competitors. Observation of their actions allows us to act reactively and consciously to make decisions about the next steps of our company. Simply, by not carrying out activities which stimulate the development of employees, their better communication and a sense of belonging to a company, you can very quickly lag behind competing companies. Currently, people are paying much more attention to employer branding, atmosphere and company’s culture. Don’t ignore that factor and don’t let your dedicated employees leave your workplace.
Types of corporate events
Internal events can take many forms. The truth is that the only limitation is the organizer’s creativity and his budget. The examples of our partners clearly show that corporations invest in the organization of various events. They differ depending on determined event goals and people are prepared for.
Improving the information flow within the company
This type of corporate events include meetups between departments. Their goal is to get to know the specifics of each other’s work and make the cooperation smoother. Departments have the opportunity to understand what the others work is like, what challenges they are facing in this process. Thus how they can help improve this process to increase the company’s business with joint efforts. It improves the relationships between departments, gives the ground for discussion and clarification of some contentious or unclear issues. As an example, you can show how the Sales Team sells the company’s products and services and determine how the Marketing department can contribute to making the process more efficient.
For this category of events, you can also include managers meetings, where they discuss whether to implement a new strategy or a new product. In general, these meetings are dedicated to talking through and making key decisions. Then after the event, each director passes information to his team. When regular and properly organized, such meetings are a great chunk of communication and the base for understanding between departments.
Many conferences aim is to make knowledge about corporate products and services more consistent, for both full-time and outsourced employees. The reason for organizing them is the problem of not knowing the company’s culture, values and operation within the company. These types of events are crucial for the business development of the company. Through the expansion of common knowledge about the product, we can avoid misunderstandings and errors in projects. Talking about the end result – time and energy devoted to the project are smaller so the profitability of the event increases.
Among educational events, we can also distinguish training for specific departments that raise their qualifications. Frequently, these are regular workshops that, thanks to the feedback gathered from participants and post-event evaluation can be adapted to their needs in the future. Often, companies hire trainers to share more professional knowledge with their employees and participate in a company’s internal meeting.
Summaries and celebrating achieved results
Another group of corporate events includes events of a less official nature, however, related to the activities of the corporation. Imagine a situation in which the corporation wants to reward employees, celebrate some success or familiarize employees with new goals and the mission they choose after achieving the next milestone. There is nothing better than organizing a dedicated meeting! Such events can include all kinds of annual summaries, quarterly events and reporting. You can go for the work trip – on the first day, there are presented reports, official documents and numbers, while the other day is intended for giving away prizes and acknowledgments. Another option is to do it in the office or dedicated venue, stationary
This type of events may seem the least important, but it is just the opposite. Thanks to them, the corporation builds employees’ mindsets about the company and informs about its goals and values. In addition, it contributes to the employee’s loyalty to the company, because through such events they identify with it more and more. Last but not least, awarding employees and showing them your support and appreciation. The proactive approach and devotion of the company are very motivating for the team.
The internal events also include integration based on entertainment and interactions. After; all, who doesn’t like some fun with some work friends? Employees have the opportunity to get to know each other better and establish relationships that are not based only on work. This affects their motivation and improvement of the atmosphere in the workplace. Clearly, it is much nicer to come to a place where you feel good with the people surrounding you and have something to talk about, right? This type of events includes family picnics, Christmas parties, birthdays and celebrating successes together, which end with an unofficial event. We often do not realize who is sitting next to us, and in a load of duties, the opportunity to meet each other better is not happening regularly.
Regardless of which types of corporate events you decide to apply to your company, each has its contribution to into your finances. Surely, it’s a large expanse for the budget but can also give a proper return on investment. To make sure you get a part of your money back, it’s crucial to run a thorough post-event evaluation. How is the event value assessed? Is the financial effect analyzed? What was obtained in the long-term and do you know if the expenses resulted in the expected benefits?
Only a few companies are aware of how important it is to control the effects of an event. To do this, the most important thing is to set yourself event goals at the beginning of the organization process.
Now that you know why it’s important to set good goals for your event, let’s see how it helps with evaluating it.
How to evaluate the effect of the performed event? Not everything can be noticed by the CEO or manager. Often, it’s the regular employees who have a vast knowledge and inputs that could start a revolution in the company – if only someone would ask them for their opinion.
What the lack of gathering feedback says about you
Nobody wants to be seen as an organizer that clings to unsatisfactory practices, runs events that bring losses and don’t meet the expectations of the participants. The lack of analysis and surveys of the attendees’ satisfaction after the event means that many opportunities for development and raising the level of events are wasted. As you can imagine – it results in the continuation of ineffective financial investments.
Here is what you deprive yourself while not collecting feedback:
Lack of knowledge about employees’ needs
How do you want to get to know the needs of employees and meet them without talking and asking employees directly about their opinions? By guessing, you have a little chance that you will fit their needs and provide satisfaction at work. The truth is that as many employees, that many opinions.
Let us be honest, not communicating with your employees, and not even trying to meet their needs, is just shooting yourself in a foot. In their hands is the success of your corporation. Otherwise, they will quit the job and switch to the competition that meets their expectations, values, interests and requests is not something you need, right? Take this into account and think about what and how you can communicate to your employees to show that their opinions and needs matter to you. Nowadays, people appreciate the impact they can have on the development of a company or product – by giving a part of the decision-making process to them, you can show how you care about their ideas and vision.
Another issue is the information you get by collecting feedback. You will learn the preferences of your team and the directions in which they want to develop. This will help you avoid missed investments in, for example, team training. You probably don’t want to spend funds on training which employees perceive as useless? Or at a level that is too low for them? To avoid this, ask them how honestly they assess the organized event and its content. Moreover, you will be able to save on misguided investments and improve their working conditions making them feel better in the company.
Limited opportunity to summarize the achievements and create the report
The organizer of the event is a direct recipient of feedback and he is responsible for it. Without collecting it, he is (consciously or not) ignoring participants’ preferences and the level of their satisfaction.
Unfortunately, many events are still left without proper feedback evaluation or even worst – such feedback isn’t collected at all. It’s also problematic to collect attendees’ opinions in real time when the event is taking place while everyone is busy with experiencing it. Unfortunately, that’s the time when participants still have a fresh memory of the current events and are able to comment on them.
Without feedback, you can not draw any conclusions. Therefore, you’re not able to plan anything for the future. Collecting feedback, the organizer can not only notice points that should be continued but also which were a total failure from the participants’ point of view. This way future improvements can be made.
As the organizer of the event, you received a certain budget for it agreed with your supervisor. The moment of settlements is coming. Did you distribute it wisely? Can you prove that the amount you spent was adequate and worth the effect of the event?
This is also the question of the future – is it worth organizing such a big event once again or is it better to organize 4 smaller ones within the same budget? Maybe you should give up some attraction that was not entertaining or valuable to employees? Careless budget planning for the next year is something that awaits you if you do not analyze the current investments and the effects they have brought. This is where with help comes the feedback from the participants of the event to analyze the satisfaction. However, data and financial reports are the base for you analyze. To answer the question ’is there a positive return on investment?’ you need a proper event evaluation.
Ways of gathering feedback
How NOT to collect feedback
Providing only solutions on how to properly conduct the process of gathering feedback will not solve the problem. It is important to understand its purpose and why some solutions fail. Maybe you’ll see your way of feedback gathering here? The examples that we present are based on experience and long-term observation of the activities of event organizers, as well as their colleagues and partners.
#1 The curse of a glass sphere
A glass ball and throwing paper cards with answers inside. The solution can be applied during the election for the World Cup in football. However, this is not a good example of gathering feedback. You may be shocked but it’s still happening, more times and in more companies than you can imagine. Even in the largest corporations. Imagine, the company’s president asks a question, the employees write the answer on paper sheets, nervously fold them (more times than needed), so that no one else can see what they have written. Then, they throw it into the ball. One person from the same company walks around the room to collect paper feedback. Then the same person doesn’t eat lunch, because he counts the cards and segregates the answers so that you can get an answer as soon as possible. Imagine that such answers are several dozen or the number exceeds 100 people. How time-consuming is the analysis of the answer? How much paper is used unnecessarily? You can answer yourself.
#2 Hands up!
It is one of the most popular ways to collect answers to closed questions. At the conference, after the question, we heard a speaker offered the participants a few answers, which they could raise their hands for yes, no, I do not take part in voting with a raising hand. What do you think, which answer got the largest number of votes in the form of hands raised up? Yes, this third one – I do not take part in voting with raising hands.
What is wrong with this form of collecting feedback? It happens that people are not sure about something, they are afraid that they will give an incorrect answer, or they are ashamed to admit their opinion. They are passive then and don’t take part in voting at all. What happens then? The results are not measurable, the organizer is not able to instantly calculate how many people raised their hand in each option, and in addition how many people didn’t make any move.
In addition, when the number of votes for both options is similar, there is no chance of noticing the difference without a thorough, error-free calculation. However, we have to admit that, it is a form of interactivity and activity for participants, but as a form of gathering feedback doesn’t work.
#3 Verbal gathering of feedback
Another common mistake is a verbal gathering of feedback. To be clear, it’s okay to talk to someone during the break of the event and ask how he likes the event. The problem begins when it is the only form of collecting feedback from employees being used at your corporate event.
The probability that we won’t be able to talk to everyone in person is huge. The process is very time-consuming. Not everyone at the moment has the opportunity (and willingness) to devote an exemplary 15 minutes to give their comments. In addition, if you, as an organizer, can remember at least 50% of the answers, this is already a lot. You probably would like to have a full picture of someone’s opinion and apply suggested changes or praise people responsible for success, right? Also, if we count on honest feedback, let’s give someone a chance to think about it and provide some privacy to anonymous in the message. Not many people would provide honest feedback in a face-to-face discussion with an organizer.
Tips & tricks on how to collect feedback effectively
The event took place, the employees showed up, most of them ate lunch, some of them missed the second part of the day with the workshops. Did they like food? Was there enough of it? Did the event last too long? Or maybe the first part was too boring to stay longer? What lessons can you draw from this information? None. You are not able to clearly answer the question what caused exact situations. So how you can find out? Ask employees directly!
Remember that gathering feedback is not only the right technique and tools, it is also the right time, place and proper questions. The point is that the answers allow you to draw conclusions and apply appropriate changes or take new actions. Let’s go together through 4 tips on how to gather feedback to evaluate your event:
#1 Ask the right questions
There is no universal template here. It all depends on the type of corporate event and the goals you want to achieve. The questions should cover issues that caused some doubts in you, e.g. you hired a new trainer for a workshop and want to check did your attendees enjoyed it. You can also try to clarify the issue of why half of the people didn’t eat lunch or some of them declared that they did not like the date of the event. The organizer must look for red flags that may suggest a room for improvement.
It is always worth asking about the overall assessment of the event and give participants the opportunity to answer an open question. There’s a chance that they have something to add that you didn’t even think about. The general questions are also always a good start to analyze overall satisfaction. Check what were the best elements of the event and what’s definitely worth changing and improving. You need to also have in mind the future of your event and expectations your attendees are having. An example would be the question about the place of the next integration trip, the speaker employees would like to hear or the sales method they would like to explore.
The issues of external services are another thing that needs to be checked and evaluated. It is worth taking into account the catering, hotel, workshops and other services provided by the companies with whom you cooperate.
#2 Choose the right time
When is the best time to ask your attendees questions? It isn’t as obvious as may seem. First note: the further away from the event, the more likely participants will not complete the feedback form. The fresher the experience, the more information the participant remembers and the more willingly they will fill in the feedback forms.
Bear in mind that feedback can be also collected BEFORE an event. What can this form be about? Preferences, ideas and expectations. It can be a strong base for creating an event to meet the needs of employees and give them the feeling that they have an impact on the what’s happening and can affect development and communication within the company.
Some corporations also smartly use surveys before the event to plan transport, organize hotel rooms and find out what kind of music employees would like to listen to at the party. Imagine a situation that you know exactly all the needed information before the event. It is in one place in the form of a survey available to employees. This is an example of the activities of one of the conscious banks, which in this way, collected the necessary logistical information in sufficient time and their interpretation was much more effective.
#3 Use the help of technology
There are many arguments that confirm that the use of technological solutions will have a positive impact on the effectiveness of feedback collection as well as on your image as an organizer. It’s more ecological and simpler when you don’t have to give out paper forms and pens for each participant. Also, it’s becoming a big convenience for people analyzing event feedback. The technology, like Eventory, create statistics themselves or give the possibility to export data in a readable format to a spreadsheet, in which it will take you only a few clicks to visualize it.
Then, attendees of your event have everything in one place – a mobile application. Feedback to leave is not the only thing that encourages them to use such a solution. They can find a lot of valuable information there – the agenda of the event, other participants with whom they can communicate without leaving the application, workshops rating and live questions.
Have you thought about making gamification, a competition with QR codes, provide voting for conducted training, or ask questions at the end of the speech? Maybe at the end of your event, you can make every participant in the application receive a notification redirecting him to the feedback survey? The possibilities are endless, there are many scenarios. The whole thing is up to you and how you use the technology.
#4 If you want to get value – offer value
That’s human nature – we are more willing to help if we receive something in return. Event participants also appreciate gadgets and rewards. This doesn’t mean big investments! Even small gadgets will make their engagement bigger. Sometimes pens, notepads or mugs will encourage employees of your event to participate more actively. If you have enough funds, you can organize a lottery with a bigger prize for people who have completed a feedback survey, such as Power bank, mascot, book or PlayStation (as we did during 4Developers for the best, most constructive feedback). Your concern is probably the budget, and gadgets in comparison to catering or paper materials have a much lower priority. Often in such situations, you can count on partners for whom the distribution of gadgets (with logo) is an additional promotion among valuable, potential customers such as your employees.
Some time ago we wrote an article devoted to the subject of gathering feedback after an event in which you can find additional information on this topic.
Post-event evaluation – what you should pay attention to?
You know how to collect feedback. There are much more things to analyze than just the answers from the feedback form. Let’s go deeper into the exact things you can and should analyze at corporate event and tool which can help you do that.
What were the interactions during the event?
The interactions between participants merit a closer analysis. If your event is all about networking you may take advantage of mobile apps. They offer plenty of features for participants to enable exchanging their contact data – personal networking, QR codes, business network building, an in-app messenger. A participant can contact the organizer in the course of the event and after its conclusion: he can ask additional questions, give the opinion and feedback once the event has ended. From the organizer’s point of view, it is also important to measure the number of contacts the participants made. It is a solid argument that can encourage undecided people to visit your event.
How did people move around the event?
By measuring this, you will know which elements of the event generated the most interest. Movement patterns will allow you to dig deeper into the psyche of your target group and to get to know their interests. Undoubtedly, beacons and QR codes are helpful tools to track the attendee traffic. They will uncover the paths the participants took, the stands they visited and the time they spent at a certain booth or attraction.
What were the most popular stands or workshops?
This is a test of the presented content quality. Which places were popular and which were avoided? Similar to the previous example, beacons can give a rather precise estimate.
However, using a solution such as Eventory Scanner also guarantee high accuracy. If you encourage the audience to install your event app, you will gather more data regarding their interests and preferences. The owner of the most popular stand is an obvious candidate to be invited for the next edition of your event. Eventory Scanner will give you hints that concern pricing of sponsorship packages and exhibitor tickets. Possessing such data gives you the edge when negotiating with exhibitors – every person passing by a stand is a potential lead. With precise data, you have the upper hand!
How do you perceive live engagement from your event?
Even the most interesting lecture can bore a listener after an hour or so. Implementing an interactive system of mini live surveys adds a different dynamic to a conference. Live voting is a feature of Eventory app. It allows its user to engage immediately in the event. Discerning the most attractive speakers gives certain ideas in terms of building the future line-up. Measuring follow-up activity during the event permits assessing the validity of your strategic choices and modifying the lecture on-the-go to suit the needs of the audience – either by yourself, if you are the speaker or by giving him suggestions in real time.
Furthermore, posing the right questions allows dividing participants into cohorts, which in consequence makes it easier to analyze and manage them.
The indicators that allow you to evaluate the mentioned factors are KPIs (about which you will be able to learn everything from the newest ebook soon). Indicators can be divided into many categories depending on the event goals. Indicators for the organizer, participant or event partner will be completely different. In the same way, KPIs will vary depending on whether they are marketing, HR or sales goals.
You have collected a lot of feedback from the event participants, it’s big progress compared to what was before. What’s next? What to do with data? Analyze! Post-event analyze is the answer. This is not rocket science as it may seem to some people. It is analytics which with the help of appropriate tools allows you to create reports, draw conclusions and implement them at your next events.
Each of the above-mentioned events is a real burden for the company – financial, but often also ‘resourceful’. And here comes the previously asked question “how to evaluate the success of enterprise corporate event? Would you rather know or guess?”. Post-event evaluation is the key to answer the question about employees satisfaction and financial situation.
Collecting feedback is a key solution. However, unfortunately, it is still performed in a very analog way. You can often find at the event the ‘glass ball’ voting or be asked to raise your hand. Paper questionnaires still dominate and it’s also common that feedback is collected orally. As a result:
- The organizer has no knowledge about whether the budget has been allocated in a reasonable way, company is not able to verify the quality/price ratio, i.e. whether it is worth re-investing in a given event (eg instead of 1 large organize 4 smaller for specific departments of the company).
- A corporation has no clue about the needs of employees and their expectations about the even. As the final result, an employee doesn’t feel connected to the company, he doesn’t feel the culture the talked about before. He knows that he has no real influence on how the company develops.
- There is still the question of the impact of the analog method of gathering feedback on the employee. Our clients say unequivocally: manual methods of gathering feedback give employees: stress, shame, fear of being judged by colleagues and supervisors.
What can we suggest instead for you to properly evaluate an event and be aware of its impact and financial profit (if any)?
- Often, it’s the regular employees who have a vast knowledge and inputs that could start a revolution in the company – if only someone would ask them for their opinion. Be the one who does it.
- Prepare yourself for feedback gathering and ask the right questions, choose the right time and use the help of technology.
- Pay attention to interaction during an event, most popular stands and engagement in specific lectures and workshops
- Analyze – don’t leave gathered feedback and your thoughts without conclusions and ideas for implementation into future events.
It is always worth to apply solutions which will let your attendees engage and spend an event more actively. Technology can be a great support and bring the experience to another level, accelerating many organizational processes and giving a real chance to collect honest, numerous feedback. For the company, it is a solid base to answer whether the event was worth the investment and how the corporate profited.
And you, do you guess or know that the event you organized for your employees was perceived as successful?