In a September 2017 article in the Harvard Business Review, former U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy shared that the most common pathology he saw in patients was loneliness. Adults who report being lonely is now 40%, a rate that has doubled since the 1980s; and research indicates the percentage is actually higher. And many adults say they do not have any close confidant.
Loneliness directly affects personal health in significant ways. It can reduce a person’s lifespan as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. And it’s tied to greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression and anxiety.
High rates of employees, and 50% of CEOs, admit they feel lonely at work – even people who work in open-plan offices. Loneliness directly impacts the success of a business. Lonely employees take longer to complete tasks, and loneliness inhibits creativity and impairs reasoning and decision making. A 2016 Gallup report found that 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work. But companies with highly engaged workforces outperformed their peers by 147% in earnings per share.
Murthy states that “for our health and for our work, it is imperative that we address the loneliness epidemic quickly.”
High-growth companies define a purpose, then a strategy to engage employees, Gallup research shows. This approach includes leadership involvement and commitment, a communication strategy, systems that hold managers and leaders accountable, and learning and development programs.
One proven way to build positive co-worker relationships is through well-designed corporate events. When designing an event, event managers must incorporate tactics that facilitate meaningful interactions among attendees. By studying the types of attendees, a strategic event planner will use activities that engage employees who have common interests.
What activities facilitate event participation to reduce loneliness?
Reducing loneliness and the stress it causes will improve the physical and mental health of your employees. And, by engaging employees, it will improve the health of your business. Among publicly traded companies, the Gallup poll determined that companies with a highly engaged employee base outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share. We wouldn’t say no to those numbers.
MOC&CO designs engaging, interactive events for our corporate clients. We know the activities that connect employees in meaningful ways to expand and strengthen their networks. Email us at email@example.com to discuss your employee event, and we’ll create an experience that combats workplace loneliness.Your Corporate Event Requires Creative Messaging
Executing a corporate event that is creative and on-brand is a challenge. Luckily, more meeting planners are focusing on the end-to-end event planning experience. Before diving into the operational side of things, it’s important to establish your creative messaging and goals. Why are you having this event? What do you want attendees to walk away with? How are you going to convey that?
This year brings some new ideas and trends in meeting planning to help find your messaging organically. Bonus: it means your meeting will be as unique as your company. Interested? Read on.
Ever feel like you’re fresh out of ideas? Or rather, that it’s hard to come up with something relevant? Your employees are a great way to tap into insights about what is important in the business and its culture.
BizBash recommends using surveys before starting down the planning road. Surveys can be sent out via email well in advance for attendees to fill out. After pooling together responses, look for a theme. Is there a common concern about culture? Misunderstandings about sales objectives? Pain point in the market? Whatever it is, make that the focus for the next corporate event.
This makes messaging and event goals much more focused. Plus, if employees and other upper-management stakeholders are on-board with the objectives, higher engagement and attendance rates will naturally follow.
Once you have the corporate event objectives and messaging planned don’t stop there. Use objectives developed through internal brainstorm sessions to create collateral for pre and post-event. No matter if it’s for employees or outside attendees, people need to be onboard in advance. Taking a book out of online retail shoppers by building an .
Engage employees through social media, email reminders or even old-fashioned flyers to remind them about the event. Provide enticing messaging about what they’ll get from attending. Keep messaging and objectives consistent across all assets. Reading an email and then attending the event should feel like an extension of the same conversation.
“Before they arrive on-site, attendees should understand why they’re going to the meeting and what they’re going to walk away with. You need to be constantly in front of them with that branding and that message.”
Once you have clear messaging and goals for the event, use that to influence the design and creative execution. Smart Meetings urges planners to select a theme that supports conference goals. The concept of storytelling through design is another emerging trend for 2017.
Event planners are using the themes and goals of events to influence the design of the physical space. For example, if your annual sales meeting’s objective is to “raise the bar,” there could be activities and experiences that present challenges. Push employees out of their comfort zones. Then, think about what types of unusual (read: uncommon and budget-friendly) locations and activities would foster that behavior.
Corporate Events Are Worth The Investment
We know budgets are not endless. Each year companies only receive a certain amount of money for corporate event planning and meetings. Justifying the cost of in-person corporate events for the sales team or company-wide off-sites presents a challenge. The real question, though, is can you afford to forgo them?
Research shows that only 32% of the current U.S. workforce is actively engaged. The good news is it doesn’t have to stay that way. Employees who attend strategically planned in-person events are much more likely to feel engaged with their jobs and their employer. As for the ‘why’? It’s about creating value and a sense of connection.
Living in a world with technology at our fingertips is great. It helps with daily communication and removes boundaries, especially for global companies. But it can also leave employees feeling disconnected. Makes sense when, “a whopping 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by non-verbal cues, talking face-to-face becomes more important than ever.” Getting teams together a few times a year reinforces that businesses are about people. Employees who have valuable face time with one another are more likely to develop relationships that will keep them from job searching. Building out the time and space within a non-office environment to talk and share, helps build “the personal relationships that are essential to effective collaboration.”
When planning in-person events the default is to pack in as many educational sessions or activities as possible. Meeting planners say that is no longer considered a best practice. Leaving more open time in schedules allows attendees to naturally network with one another. Plus, the mixture of people with different talents and skills is proven to contribute more meaningful insights and perspectives. So let the sales team and the product team mingle!
So what do companies get out of this? More engaged and motivated employees. The more motivated an employee, the less likely they are to leave the company. An investment in one or two high-quality events a year reduces the likelihood of losing top talent. One study estimates that losing an employee can cost anywhere from 16% of their salary for an hourly employee, to 213% of the salary for a highly trained employee.
The value the employee receives from in-person training and relationship building becomes money saved for the employer. And more often then not, justifies the cost of the event.