Association Congress

Monday, 30 May 2011

Why event organisers have to be involved in the staff away day

In my last Blog I discussed the huge potential Staff Away Days offer organisations, and conversely what a waste of time they can be if they are not run by event professionals.

Well, this is an extract from a staff away day that Gallus Events recently put together for a client. The full case study shows what can be achieved and the process you need to implement to get your there. This short section will allow you to see that good objectives are; very outcome driven and big and bold enough to impact the whole organisation. Now that’s the power of events, and that’s the value event experts can add.

Making the most of the staff away day

To set the scene, an organisation was undergoing a transformation process which would affect the organisation at every level. Their executive, of around 90 staff, were taken away for a day to address the issues.

The first important point is that for the away day to be a success, it has to be viewed as a part of the transformation process. I often see the most fantastic objectives for ‘away days’. Remember it’s only a day, and have realistic objectives. They can be big, but they have to be achievable. To make sure we could all agree on the direction and to ensure success we had to:

1.       Set measurable and achievable objectives for the day;
2.       Understand that the event is only part of a process;
3.       Not use the event solely for dissemination of information; and
4.       Support the event before and after


Measurable and definitive. Personal objectives measured on the day “How did the event match your expectations?” The following week the objectives were measured by a staff survey focussing on “What did you learn and what can you do that will affect your job?” Three months later we did another survey with certain individuals interviewed by the Transformation Team. To give you a flavour, here is an example question:

“One of the objectives was to demonstrate that we can achieve a lot in a shorter period of time. Everyone has been instructed to hold shorter and less meetings. How successful has your department been:

a.      A lot, b. Quite good, c. Not much, d. Not at all”

So how about that for an objective of the day? To shorten meetings and to make everyone more efficient? What a wonderful thing to come from an away day. The programme demonstrated that with the correct structure we were able to have much shorter sessions which led to significant outcomes. The client wanted this to be reflected by internal meeting. This was only one of several objectives all of which were achievable and had a significant impact on the organisations. Doing in fact what an away day should.

Does your staff away day look like this?

Does the example above look like an objective that you have set for your next or your last away day? It’s unlikely, and that’s why I believe we have such a massive opportunity as an industry to help organisations with these very valuable uses of their time.

So if you are in the event industry, start talking to Companies and help them with their away day. If you run away days ask an Event Organiser to help you. Let’s prove, and let us prove, we can add significant value to their organisations.  

This is a short extract from the full case study. Please email if you would like to see the full case study.

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