Driving Innovation with Event Planning

Event planning? Really? I thought HR was supposed to give up the “party planner” role in the move to strategic partner… Well, let’s hear what the indubitable Sue Meisinger has to say about that:

Open Communication Spurs Innovation

Meisinger then pointed to employee social events as an opportunity to tear down boundaries that many HR professionals seem to miss. She asked the audience to raise their hand if they resented the fact that their organization expected them to organize social events, such as holiday parties and corporate picnics. Dozens of hands shot up in the audience.

“Excuse me while I go on a rant here. You're looking at this from the wrong perspective, and you shouldn't resent this opportunity and instead embrace it,” she said. “You need to look at these employee events as strategic opportunities to open communication channels.”

In social settings, people talk and get to know each other, and HR's role should be to help encourage that interaction and promote the culture where people talk to people, she added.

“Is it more likely that someone from accounting will return a call or consider a suggestion from someone in publications that they barely know, or is it likely that they will listen and pay attention to someone whom they remember meeting and sharing a good time?” Meisinger asked. “HR's role is to ensure clarity and the organization's efforts to develop and maintain a culture that encourages and celebrates innovation.” Source: SHRM

Bringing it home

I am the events team lead at work. To be totally honest, I’m not very good at the details part of the event planning. It’s just not an area that I am strong in.

However, I do put effort into determining what events support the culture we want to develop and how to use the events as a way to link diverse groups of employees. There is no substitute for the conversations and camaraderie that develop as a result of the events we have for our staff.

Another element is seeing our senior leaders participating in these events alongside our staff. That opportunity to interact on a personal level increases the trust in our leadership.

So, say what you will, but I’m going to keep putting the effort into developing events that our staff enjoy, because that is one of the things that makes our culture what it is. What are your thoughts on the topic?

4 thoughts on “Driving Innovation with Event Planning

  1. Sayward

    I use every opportunity to try to build our culture and breakdown walls. I try to play mini games that give people time to share something about themselves, fav movie, book, etc. so that they may see that they have something in common. Many times just that small game has allowed for more collaboration between departments.

    I am not the “details” person though-I have a small committee that I let run with the budget after I give them a preliminary plan. They make it look easy! After working with them for about a year, they are starting to help spread the word about whatever message we are trying to convey at each event.

    I think that it is important for HR to have a role here. I can say that I am the only person who knows everyone in our organization-with that comes the responsibility of making sure they all “click” as much as possible. Events are a big way of doing that.

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  4. Kyle Jones

    I have coordinated company events at my company since 2005 and, for the most part, enjoy it. I am OCD when it comes to details and that makes the things others find tedious fun for me. You’re right about making events that others enjoy. Make an effort – do it right – and make sure that the employees know that it means something.

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