This post originally appeared on the Frameable blog.
To say that 2022 will be a busy year for most companies would be an understatement. The global workforce continues to grapple with the impacts of the pandemic, teams are hedging their bets on the best hybrid work arrangements, and The Great Resignation is forcing companies to rethink how they meet the needs of a distributed workforce.
The start of the year—and this year especially—is a valuable time to realign your team and rally them behind your company’s goals, while also providing them much-needed reassurance. An annual company kickoff can effectively meet this goal, but what will kickoffs look like in the age of remote work, and can they capture the same energy as an in-person kickoff?
Don’t worry. You can still host a fulfilling online company kickoff that will reinvigorate your team and help address their anxieties about the future of work. So get started with planning your kickoff today by exploring these must-have kickoff agenda elements that work great in a virtual environment.
How to Build an Engaging Online Company Kickoff Agenda
Design your kickoff experience as an all-virtual event, regardless of if there is an in-person element. This approach will keep you focused on what matters—building a seamless, intuitive, and fun digital experience for your team. Then you can adapt the in-person components to blend with the online platform and virtual experience.
Lean into the advantages of the digital kickoff environment. Features like pre-recorded videos, in-platform messaging, and small-group breakout rooms can all replicate many of the beloved elements of your traditional kickoff event.
Keep in mind that your virtual attendees need a healthy mix of session types and lengths to stay engaged. Sustain excitement throughout your virtual kickoff by hosting these types of activities:
- Awards & Recognition: Celebrate both team and individual successes. It is crucial to acknowledge accomplishments from the last year and spotlight team members for their contributions. These awards ceremonies should be fun, personal, and all about your team’s success.
- Company Executive AMAs: Spotlight company executives and leaders to share their goals for the year and explain their priorities. Allow your kickoff attendees to ask questions through your virtual event platform and collect questions ahead of time, too, to kickstart the Q&A.
- Customer or Client Sessions: Your company customers or clients can offer a valuable perspective to your team, including why they love working with you, what they look for when seeking solutions providers, and how you have helped advance their brand. These sessions are ideal for a virtual environment because they require no travel (just be sure to express gratitude for your customer’s time after the kickoff).
- Hands-on Virtual Training Sessions: Help your team work more efficiently by hosting virtual training sessions, either as an entire company or in small group breakouts. These training sessions can troubleshoot common tech challenges, explain how to use company tools and software, or develop skills like time management and conflict resolution.
- Improv: Develop your team’s skills in a fun way by facilitating quick improv sessions. These short activities should involve no more than 5-10 minutes of prep before your participants present in front of the whole group or a small breakout group. The activity should align with your company in some way, such as asking team members to create a promotion for a new product, roleplay a customer interaction, or envision their day-to-day experiences if they worked in a different department.
- Speed Networking: Kickoffs are essential for connecting team members that usually do not interact. Set up small group breakout rooms for five-minute speed networking. Pose a question for two team members to discuss, and then shuffle everyone to a new partner once the time is up. Use pop-up notifications in your event platform to facilitate the transition.
- Team-building: A kickoff should strengthen your team’s trust in each other and align them with your brand values. Host a series of team-building activities or sessions that solely focus on helping your team get to know each other better, understand each teammate’s strengths, and reinforce your team culture.
- Entertainment: After your team finishes your core kickoff content, it’s time to let them have even more fun. Coordinate an exciting activity or experience, such as a group cooking class, live musical performance, virtual escape room, or a happy hour with pre-sent cocktail mixers. Don’t treat this as a box to check in your planning—actively seek input from your team to understand what type of entertainment would be the ultimate way to finish your kickoff.
3 Virtual Company Kickoff Best Practices
Your online company kickoff will delight your team if you host a mix of the sessions we explained.
We have three final tips to ensure you truly hit the target on delivering a fulfilling virtual kickoff:
- Poll your team ahead of time to understand what they hope to gain from the meeting. This will help you fine-tune your agenda and balance your executive team’s needs with your team’s hopes.
- Mail supplies to everyone ahead of time so that they have everything they need for the kickoff. These supplies can include workbooks and activity sheets, as well as company swag or other goodies.
- Coordinate food to be delivered to everyone’s house, or mail gift cards for them to order from their favorite local spot. Plan some informal lunchtime activities or open networking rooms to keep the energy high.
Online Company Kickoff Platform Essentials
As seen by the variety of activity ideas that work great for an online company kickoff, companies need to pick a virtual kickoff platform that can facilitate a blend of networking spaces and presentation stages to maximize the kickoff success.
Social hour is a virtual event platform that hundreds of organizations have trusted, and we’re ready to help you host your best kickoff yet. Learn more about our customizable lounges and stages and intuitive features that are sure to delight your team.