One fine day got a excel in a mail with subject "Event 2014 - Details required". Excel contained employee names against which I had to give my preferences of food ( veg/ non-veg), liquor (Y/N) etc. Each department had a spoc who made sure he collected the data in excel and sent it. This was just a lame way to collect data for a outing. I submitted the data and also went for the event.
Come 2015 and again planning started for our annual event. This time I had my ideas and thoughts which I wanted to implement
Got in the event committee and the journey began. We were 4 of us planning things. Here will jot down ideas and things we did which smoothened the process. Things we learned in the last 4 years.
No of employees: 280 to 350
Based: 90% Mumbai & 10% across India
Event time: 2 nights 1 day (With stay at location)
Employees tend to have rules in mailbox on email ids. Mail from HR / communication mails end up in trash or a seperate folder
Solution: Create a brand new email id for any event. Maximize the reach. Zero follow ups required
Data collection,analysing and planning
Most important. Dealing with large groups is not easy. And assigning team leaders for such activity would not do justice to their time
Make a webpage and host it on the intranet or in a logged in section. Why? Because you get basic identity of the employees without him punching anything.
Are you joining us for the event?
If "Yes" then
What's your Whatsapp no? - Employee tend to have seperate number for Whatsapp hence
Where do you live in Mumbai?- Area (Help for planning transport)
Answers to above help you finalize hotel bookings
We had planned to take the employees for the event to Goa via train. We were booked two different trains.
Second Questionnaire: ( Only to those responded "Yes" to coming for the event)
Travelling self or with all of us (Means we need to do the bookings)
Preferred station to board (List has only stations which are available)
Now we knew where the employee resides and his station preference. Mapped them to the nearest halt station or as per their preference. To and fro travel closed
Teams were formed for events which we would have at office and at the event days. It was a fun filled team building event.
Give the teams themes. We had Bollywood theme, action hero themes etc
Select team leaders and map team members to them Help them with Whatsapp groups. Yes please. Can't except he/she adds 40+ employee nos in the phone book to make a Whatsapp Group. It's easy
Make excel with employee name/employee id, phone no/ Team leader assigned
Have just 2 columns in excel. Concatenate Event name + Team leader + name/employee id & the phone no. Save in xml with header - Name & Phone
Create new Gmail id
Upload contacts via xml file saved
Input new Gmail Id details on your mobile phone. (If available do it on spare phone)
Open WhatsApp on web browser
Type event name and then team leader name
Select all and make a group
Repeat for all team leaders
Once done remove new Gmail id from ur phone
Takes 20 mins & you have created groups for each team leader and you are Admin in all
Travel info to each individual - Train travel Mumbai - Event destination
Transporting 250+ people is not a easy job with different touch points. Let's break it down in parts.
Leg One - Train travel
Each boarding station a Ticket Checker was assigned. A senior employee. He had to tally that his team got on board the train.
Webpage was hosted which looked like a train ticket (It's fun and employee follow if its innovative). It had the following details:
Berth & seat no.
Boarding location (Which the employee had selected)
Your Ticket Checker name and his contact no
Time to assemble
Other emergency nos.
QR code for route map from destination to event location
As this was hosted in a logged in section the employee could view his ticket directly. This streamlined the process of employee getting their train travel details.
Bus travel from airport or railway station to event place
Seems the easiest one Right? Means what there to plan in making people sit in buses. Pack buses and taken them to destination.
A super big NO
SMSes were send to each team member a designated bus no which he needs to sit upon arrival. It was based on his train time arriving at the destination
How does it make sense?You will need to complete this article to understand it better.
In one of the events the time to reach the destination was 30+ mins and we served them with nice cool beers and breezers :D
At the Hotel or Event location
Event location will always have extra staff on reception for handling guests coming in. Yet 250+ people is a task to manage
Share your employee list with hotel for room booking. Hotels tend to give you the allocated room numbers 1-2 days before the event. Make use of it.
So now we know in each room which 2 or 3 people are going to stay. We also knew who is reaching first at the venue (Train allocated. Time of reaching. Remember?)
We made one person from the group of 2 or 3 residing in the same room board the initial buses.They were names room captains.
Only he/she arrived at the reception and took keys for all of them. Saves time and needs less people managing. Also helps reduce wait time.
The rest 2/3 guests were given room nos and were asked to directly go to the room. No need to come for check-in etc
We managed to check-in approx 250+ guests with just one person at the reception. Just ONE
We learnt this is a hard way where we took approx 2 hrs with 4 people at the reception to check-in all guests
Photos/Videos of the events
Once back from the event everyone would want their pics/videos from the event. For a 2 day event we had nothing less than 3000 pics
We used to host the same on our internal homepage where employee would login and download. But was a pain to search your image in the lot
This time we did it differently
Make a new gmail id
Upload all photos on Google Photos
Make a album
Share with employees
Now the employees can access the same and can add the photos to their Google Photos account. Once added they can go to Google Photos > Albums > People > Select their face or their friends face whose pics they want to see or download
No more looking for your own pics and wasting time
We had customized things as per our needs and convenience. Read this to get the idea of what good practices we followed which reaped good results
Why this article?
To share with you all what we followed for over the years for our team events which could be useful for you too. How we digitized things and eliminated manual activities. It was fun learning and goofing up things
We did some events in the office also prior to going to the event. Will add it in this article sometime soon
Thanks to my colleague Krishnan who was with me into all this.
In the later years many more got added and it was time for me to leave the event organizing committee. Now new employees (read young ones) have taken over but we do keep getting into things now and then.
Can't let go of what we had loved to do