Insights & Ideas

Tips for successful employee engagement events: Halloween edition

Salo employees dressed up as Scooby Doo Characters

Don’t let remote (or socially distanced) employee engagement activities scare you.

It’s almost Halloween, but let’s be real: This whole year has been scary. We’ve all been dealing with pretty serious stuff for months. Although it might not feel like the right time for “office fun”, employee engagement events are actually a great way to help ease the stress and isolation employees may be feeling in 2020.

If hosting employee engagement activities fill you with dread, don’t get spooked. We have 7 tips on how to create events employees won’t want to ghost (and aren’t monsters to organize). And, we’ll use our own annual Halloween party to illustrate our points. It seems appropriate since it’s an event where people have always worn masks.

(Also, it gives us an excuse to show you these pics…)

Salo employees dressed as The Flintstones characters

Salo employees dressed as various Britney Spears characters

Salo employees dressed in tuxedos with black paper frames around their faces

Tips for success

Throwing a Halloween party might not seem innovative, but, for us, it’s been a great way to give serious professionals a chance to let loose. (Trust us, nobody lets loose like a bunch of finance people in costumes.) More importantly, it helps employees see everyone—even the leadership team—as more than just their role. Here’s what makes our Halloween festivities a spell-binding success:

  1. Capitalize on something employees enjoy: The Halloween Rally started because Salo employees liked to shed their business suits and dress up on Halloween. It became a formal event in 2007.
  2. Get leaders INTO IT: Our leadership team and owners are the biggest champions of the Halloween festivities. They set the pace for the celebrations—dressing up, rallying the troops, and supporting others.
  3. Have clear objectives: Our goal for this event is simply to deepen connections between employees in all areas of the organization. We know this helps our team work together more productively over time.
  4. Allow for creativity: After more than a decade, our employees’ costume game is strong. Costumes are a great way for employees to show their creative side and their sense of humor.
  5. Encourage collaboration: Group costumes get employees working together in a completely different way than normal work situations and lead to more opportunities for camaraderie.
  6. Reward participation: Of course, we have costume contests with prizes for individuals and groups. The competition is fierce, but the biggest reward for employees is feeling part of something out of the ordinary.
  7. Make it repeatable: Since employees know the event happens annually, they can plan for it all year. And, even better, event organizers can get a system down—making incremental changes instead of reinventing the wheel each year.

This year: A slightly different celebration

Usually, we have big parties with food, drinks, and costume-related fun at each of our offices. This year, with everyone still working remotely, things won’t be the same. But we know employee engagement is more important than ever, so we’re still going to make it a great experience.

In addition to group and individual costumes, we’re encouraging people to “think outside of the box to design their Zoom box”. So, anything they can fit in their Zoom box (themselves, family, pets, kitchen tables, etc.) can be a part of the costume. And, for those who don’t like dressing up, we’re also having a contest for best Zoom background. Even with the pandemic, we’ll do our best to make it memorable and engaging for the team.

Check back with us later to see how it went! Hopefully, we’ll have 2020 Halloween pics to share.

Not into Halloween? See our 25 other engagement ideas for remote teams.

If you’re looking for senior leaders to help your remote team succeed, Salo can help. We provide senior- and executive-level consultants expertise in HR, finance, or accounting for organizations of all kinds. Contact us here. We’d love to learn more about your needs.

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