The inevitable change in format that traditional kick-off meetings have undergone makes those responsible for organizations rethink their effectiveness. For this reason, we are going to analyze how kick-offs should be in the post-covid era so that they preserve their essence and main purposes.
What is a kick-off?
Kick-offs are annual corporate events whose primary mission is to align the entire workforce with the purposes and objectives of the company for the new fiscal year, as well as the launch of a new business or department project. An alignment that consists of motivating, educating, and inspiring both the commercial team and all the personnel involved in the mission. The usual format of these events has been face-to-face: one day or, sometimes, two during which the company’s management exposes the challenges that it has to face during the next year, analyzes the current situation of the company, and empowers employees to bring the best of themselves in the immediate future.
How to adapt kick-off meetings to the current situation
The problem that the pandemic brought with it was precisely that of face-to-face meetings: physical events and meetings were canceled or moved online, leaving kick-offs in organizational limbo. How can kick-offs take place without travel, hotels, conference rooms, and group activities? However, the intelligent use of technology draws a new horizon for these meetings: also, as the global health crisis seems to be under control, old habits are cautiously resumed. The kick-off changes its format, but not it’s content or its objective.
Advantges of a virtual or hybrid kick-off
Until the long-awaited “old normality” fully arrives, kick-offs will have to continue to take place in remote spaces or, failing that, in a hybrid modality that combines face-to-face with virtual meetings. And the truth is that these new formats not only do not sacrifice the main purpose of these meetings but also have certain advantages over traditional models:
- Cost-effectiveness. Companies can save large sums of money since the costs associated with flights, hotels, catering, or common spaces are dispensed with.
- Sustainability. The rational use of resources also translates into a reduction in the carbon footprint, and added value that improves the perception of the company from abroad.
- Flexibility. Access to sessions is democratized, and remote conferences can be recorded and consulted later.
What themes can I choose for the kick-off?
Events that revolve around a specific common thread tend to be more cohesive and help attendees to better focus the messages and ideas that are transmitted to them. To choose the theme, it is first recommended to know where the company’s staff is (state of mind, morale, motivation, energy, knowledge…) and then focuses on one of these points:
- Motivation. You can choose a short phrase, slogan, or word to boost staff morale. Something that gives them the energy that they lack, something that restores their enthusiasm and the desire to fight.
- Target. If you detect that the problem has been that the objectives have not been clear, or that each department has waged war on its own, you may be interested in focusing the theme on a clear and unique objective that helps the staff to channel their efforts.
- View. How can the company contribute to improving our world or our society? If employees perceive that their work serves a higher purpose, rest assured that it will be much easier to empower and motivate them.
- Awards. There may be members of the organization who deserve special recognition for their results or the dryness of their work, and perhaps it is time to celebrate overcoming potholes and achieving goals.
Tips for creating an agenda for a successful kick-off
- Always keep the option of a hybrid format: it allows whoever wants to go in person, and makes virtual connection options as easy as possible for those who don’t.
- Try to condense the time as much as possible: the attention span of the attendees will be diluted the longer the meetings last.
- Prepare static content in advance: don’t waste kick-off time posting issues that don’t require an answer. Record a video or automatic presentation and make it available to attendees.
- Commitment to interactivity: propose activities for attendees to participate and abandon the passive role, such as group dynamics, role-playing games, questions, and answers…
What to keep in mind for a virtual kick-off?
The employee experience
To have a successful virtual kickoff, your employee experience must be flawless. If you spend a lot of effort making your customers feel comfortable in your presence, now it’s your turn to extrapolate what you’ve learned and treat your employees like customers (for a day).
The technical aspects
Nothing messes up a virtual meeting more than technical issues. Make sure that both the telecommunications infrastructure and the computer tools do not fail during the sessions. Think of all the money you are saving by kicking off in a virtual format, and allocate part of the budget to a reliable provider for this service.
The fact that the kick-off is not in person does not mean that your employees cannot receive commemorative gifts. Make sure you send them pens, speakers, headphones, notebooks, coffee cups… The same things that they could take to a face-to-face event and that, in addition, help them to follow up on the conferences.
Breaks and catering
The squad will need to take a few breaks throughout the day to digest all the new information. Why don’t you distribute restaurant tickets or vouchers that can be exchanged in catering establishments with the possibility of takeaway?
“If you are thinking of organizing a kick-off meeting, trust our expertise. Meetmaps all-in-one technology offers an unbeatable experience at your events, regardless of the format. In addition, the user experience will be unbeatable, taking it to the next level.”
The pandemic has drawn a scenario of social distance and teleworking that, although it has not had a negative impact on the productivity rates of companies, has brought with it a certain estrangement among co-workers. Kick off meetings in virtual or hybrid mode, far from losing their purpose, are postulated as very intelligent solutions where both time and economic resources are better used.