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Millennials now make up the largest segment of employees in the modern workplace. As such, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to plan corporate events that resonate specifically with the millennial generation. Millennials value creativity, innovation, individuality, and meaningful experiences. They also appreciate companies that prioritize social responsibility.
The key for event managers is to plan corporate events that align with the preferences and values of millennials. This allows companies to better engage with millennial employees personally outside of day-to-day work. The result is happier and more loyal employees.
This blog post will provide tips and creative ideas to help professional event managers plan lively, memorable and engaging corporate events tailored to the millennial crowd.
Use Tech and Digital Engagement
Incorporating technology and digital engagement at events is key to connecting with millennials. Millennials are digital natives who constantly use technology in their personal lives. They expect the same digital fluency in workplace events.
Some creative tech ideas include:
- Digital signage displaying event hashtags, schedules, announcements, etc.
- Live polling of attendees using smartphone apps during presentations
- Virtual reality or augmented reality immersive experiences
- Multi-screen video walls with dynamic imagery
- Smart kiosks providing event info, maps, etc.
- RFID wristbands enable cashless payments, access control, etc.
- Photo booths with fun props and digital image delivery
- Custom filters for social media posts
- Demo stations for new tech products relevant to attendees
The blend of physical and digital creates an immersive event experience for millennials. But don’t overlook the importance of face-to-face networking opportunities. Balance high-tech immersion with a human connection.
Provide Unique Food and Beverage Options
Food and drink choices are another area where you can showcase creativity for millennials. Tired old corporate event catering will fall flat. Be innovative with exciting menus and food presentations.
- Provide various dietary options, including plant-based, gluten/dairy-free, ethnic dishes, etc.
- Arrange food in unique ways like food trucks, customizable food bars, tapas/small plates, etc.
- Bring in celebrity or local high-profile chefs to prepare signature dishes.
- Include a craft beer, wine and cocktail bar with unique mixed drinks
- Feature self-service drink stations with things like build-your-own mimosas
- Set up on-theme dessert bars (e.g. doughnut wall)
- Hire baristas to prepare specialty coffees like lattes
- Give food and drinks creative, catchy names tied to the event theme
Millennials also care about sustainability. Minimize waste by avoiding single-use plastics. Provide reusable cups, plates, cutlery and napkins. Ensure recycling/compost bins are marked. Source ingredients locally and ethically.
Entertainment Ideas That Break the Mold
Corporate parties often involve the standard live band or DJ providing background music. To captivate millennials, create experiences around entertainment that encourage participation.
- Social entertainment includes bowling, arcade games, ping pong, and VR experiences.
- Host a live trivia event related to company history, products, etc. and give prizes.
- Set up stations with activities like giant Jenga or Connect Four
- Hire a dance crew to hold a pop-up workshop teaching a choreographed routine
- Offer a karaoke stage for employees to sign up to sing
- Project live social media feeds on big screens to encourage sharing
- Organize flash mob surprises synchronized with the event
- Have artists do live painting or graffiti art
- Provide creative selfie/photo stations and props
- Invite influencer speakers or artists to give TED-style inspirational talks.
Entertainment should facilitate shared experiences and social interaction. Participatory entertainment gets millennials engaged more than passive entertainment. Let them co-create the experiences.
Prioritize Social Responsibility
Millennials care about contributing to society and making a positive impact. Demonstrate corporate social responsibility in your event activities.
- Partner with a local nonprofit and have a booth for donations/volunteer signup
- Through info displays, highlight company CSR initiatives like diversity hiring, environmental efforts, ethical sourcing, etc..
- Have executives give talks about the company’s values and community outreach
- Organize a volunteer event after the main event where employees can give back to the local community.
- Offer donations to charity for participating in certain event activities
- Use only reusable, eco-friendly materials to minimize your footprint.
- Source food/drink from sustainable vendors
- Print signage on recyclable materials like cardboard rather than foam/plastic
Promote purpose-driven initiatives at your event. Millennials will appreciate an authentically socially-conscious event.
Get Millennials Involved in the Planning
Get millennials involved in the event planning process for the most relevant ideas. Ask for input through surveys and meetings. Recruit a millennial planning committee to represent the target audience.
- Recommend venues, themes, activities, music, food, entertainment etc.
- Provide feedback on ideas and logistics.
- Share perspectives on how to balance fun and professionalism
- Please help promote the event through their social networks.
- Volunteer day-of help with photos, videos, social media, surveys, etc.
- Participate in post-event review for future improvement
Involving millennials directly is crucial. They know what best resonates with their generation. Enable them to imprint the event with their creativity.
Corporate events are important in employee engagement, morale and company culture. It’s essential to tailor events to resonate with the new generation of millennial workers to maximise impact.
Millennials desire events that are creative, innovative, participatory and purpose-driven. The key is incorporating technology, unique food and beverage options, unconventional entertainment, and social responsibility into event planning. When corporate events align with millennial perspectives, companies will successfully connect with these employees on a deeper level.
Professional event managers can plan corporate events that authentically engage millennials by following the abovementioned strategies and ideas. The result will be improved employee satisfaction, stronger company loyalty and a powerful employer brand that appeals to millennial talent.