2017 is over, and if you haven’t already held your annual day, it’s high time you had one. Planning for an event like this should be exciting. Should be, but usually isn’t. Do you find yourself wondering where the enthusiasm went in the run-up to your annual day? Are you stuck doing the exact same thing year after year? Has it become a predictable and ineffective exercise? Can no one seem to think beyond the Bollywood or Pirate theme again? No idea what to put in that gift bag? Deciding to have an annual day is the easy part, but what do you plan to do about dwindling participation? Annual days are not just for new joiners and inductees, but for your entire office and possibly even their families. Ideally, events like these should be an integral part of your employee wellness program. If you don’t see everyone joining in, you have a problem of disengagement.

A well-executed Annual Day can lead to higher morale, camaraderie, a pride of place, sense of belonging, and improved team dynamics. All if this, of course, leads to higher engagement, better long-term productivity and lower attrition (which is the goal of any effective employee wellness program). Of course, the first requirement is to do something that isn’t predictable and mundane. Don’t take short-cuts by just putting up a few posters, sending out hastily created emails and sticking a couple of balloons on the ceiling. A DJ and an old song and dance routine would work at a child’s birthday party, not at a corporate event. If you want to make your annual day more effective, here’s our checklist of steps you could be taking:

The theme

Pick a theme that promotes participation and helps people mingle. As always, we at HooFit prefer events with a fitness theme to support your employee wellness program, so if you haven’t done a sports day this year, merge the two and do a marathon celebration that might also include an actual marathon! How about team sports like football for those who don’t mind getting sweaty, and games like carom or ping-pong for the others? Get your team healthier, promote team dynamics and improve participation all in one move. Take the whole company out to an adventure that could include rafting, target shooting, or paintball and watch your people snap out of their stupors and take an interest.

The engagement

Don’t just send out emails and hope people show up. Create teams, pick captains and allocate responsibilities. Make your employees part of bringing the annual day to life and they will automatically feel a sense of ownership to the event, any by extension your entire employee wellness program. Also, it’s hard to complain about things when you’re in charge of making them happen. Your team handles tough situations every day that directly impact the company’s revenue, they can handle one event. Don’t be afraid to involve and delegate, you never know where you might notice some hidden leadership skills.

The committees

No more sitting around and deciding what to do. The more people you make part of the decision making, the more generic and common-place your theme keeps becoming. Once people get hooked on active, innovative annual days, they will start coming to you with ideas themselves. Till then, delegate the execution, but provide the essential direction yourself.

The ROI for your Employee Wellness Program

Don’t buy gifts that the team can take back home, it’s not a child’s birthday party as I said before. Spend a maximum of your budget on creating new experiences. The best metric to measure ROI in the event would be the period of time post the event that people are still talking about it. Employee morale is what you want to improve with all that spend, so keep your eyes squarely on that price. If you need ideas around experience-based rewards you can give people, refer to our other article here.

What did you plan for your annual day this year? Write to us about your experience and inputs and we might include you in our Annual eBook on Employee Wellness Program releasing in January 2018.

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