Staff Conferences that inform, align, create and motivate
A staff conference is a big investment. You need a strong reason to get everyone out of the organisation for a day. Feedback from our events always say that the event exceeded expectations by a large margin. Some of the typical outcomes of our Staff Conferences and Staff Away Days are:
- Improved understanding of the business environment and the growth strategy
- Better connection and cameraderie between the functions within the business – that “One Company” feeling
- An appreciation of what has been achieved in the previous year or period and the empowerment it brings
- Higher levels of engagement
- An expression of your values and culture
- Specific creative input on new product/service development and improvement of operating processes
- Collaborative problem-solving
An all-staff meeting is a huge commitment. So the time must be used wisely, productively. Staff can become resentful of a day that is wasted when they know their work will be waiting for them when they get back. So the day must feel more valuable than an average day. You have to do things that are best done in such a setting.
In addition to the practical work of such an event, there are also the symbolic and consequential communication. The memory of a day together can influence the feelings about the company. A contentious day will leave an impression of discord. A badly organised or thought-through day will reduce confidence in the management. The reverse of these is also true. The organisation’s trust in management can be greatly increased in such an event. The organisation’s self esteem can also be very positively effected.
Components of a Staff Conference
We’ve never run the same staff conference twice. We always blend a variety of session types to achieve a balanced agenda where serious stuff is dealt with in an engaging way:
- Facilitated discussion. Usually based around questions such as:
- What do we most need to get right in the next 3 years?
- What needs to happen to ensure we take advantage of the … opportunity?
- How do we need to develop/improve our organisation’s culture?
- Organisation-level SWOT analyses.
- Whole-organisational Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental (PESTLE) analyses with impact assessments, recommended mitigations and exploitations.
- Big Questions – the critical questions facing the organisation are posted on large boards around the room. Staff travel around and post up ideas and responses. These are processed, organised, summarised and presented back by small teams.
- Recognition for teams and individuals for excellence, effort, living the organisation values – run in an awards ceremony style, complete with voting in advance, nominees, trophies.
- Priorities – exercises to identify, refine and communicate the priorities of each component team.
- Question Time style panel discussions with Boards.
- Scenario Responses. Smaller groups make recommendations about the organisation’s response to future possible scenarios.
- Customer Journey process reinvention. A
- Strategic Timeline. Teams develop milestone plans for a 3 year period and beyond using long sheets of paper and art materials.
- Build and race. A fun challenge for teams to build and then race vehicles. Possible to configure it to emphasise collaboration and communication or competition.
- Quiz shows (individual and team) to increase knowledge of organisation, customers, markets, external context.
- Innovation hacks. Teams create outline new products, services or processes and present back for strengthening.
- Solutions Focused Problem-solving. A specific methodology for resolving problems step by step without getting mired in energy-sapping negativity.
- Our World. A process for identifying trends, drivers and changes. What does the future operating context look like?
- Delphi Method Forecasting. Carefully constructed forecasting process to identify revenue trends by market and customer.
- Action Planning
- Guest speakers. We can find or recommend and brief expert speakers.
- Coaching sessions helping individuals or teams to define how they are going to take and sustain action.
The Design Process
We meet or speak with you to understand your organisation, its challenges and your event objectives.
We develop a design and walk it through with you.
More complex events such as Company Conferences for 500+ participants usually benefit from a steering group to undertake specific preparatory tasks. We can join this in any number of roles – either to facilitate, to lead or to contribute as lead designer.
I have run many events where there are pre-conference activities such as competitions, presentations, video production, exhibitions. We can advise and guide on these.
Alongside the design, we will help identify appropriate venues and materials and equipment required.
Once a design is nailed down, we create a variety of “cuts” of the agenda:
- A logistics version
- A stage-manager/production version (if required)
- A technical/audio visual version (if required)
Examples of our Staff Conferences
- Town Hall Planning event for 70 managers
- Staff Conference with guest speakers, Q&A, game show elements, competitions, presentations, collaborative planning session for 500.
- Innovation lab with groups of 50 working through a specific process of brainstorming through to idea development and competitive presentations/teardowns.
- Stakeholder conference consisting of Local Authority staff, colleague directors from different departments, charities, housing associations, tenant activist groups.
- Simulation of new town development with (like Sim City) for 250 as an ideas generation session for new developments. The site we developed is no The Olympic Park in East London.
- Competitiveness conferences for manufacturing business looking at ways to improve competitiveness across product development, contract manufacture, customer service, cost management, value engineering, marketing, lean production.
- Network conference for 75 government agencies working in similar fields, designed to increase collaboration and share good practice.