2019 Has been a tough year. Most companies have had to put in far more effort, with far less to show for it.   Management are battle weary and staff are feeling just as exhausted. This year has flown and it’s already nearing the last few weeks of 2019. Do you have a company year-end event planned? Is there budget?

SHOULD YOU OR SHOULDN’T YOU?

Logic dictates that when the economy is tight, anything that doesn’t contribute to the bottom line should be cut.  Yet it’s proven that employees who feel appreciated and valued are more motivated and loyal to the organisation. They are also more likely to go the extra mile, especially in tough times.

The important thing to remember is that this year may have been tough, but next year is around the corner. You need a positive, strong and motivated team to fight the good fight for the year ahead. You want your employees to come back motivated and with renewed energy for the new year.

YOU MADE IT!

A year-end function is like an anniversary and while it presents some closure to the year behind you, it provides the perfect opportunity to highlight some gems, celebrate and share company and personal achievements.  Whether it’s positive sales figures, special projects or long-term service. This is where you say thank you to everyone for overcoming the business challenges they’ve faced.  You can always find something to celebrate.

People want to work for companies where they feel engaged and empowered. In fact, companies with engaged employees have been found to make significantly more than their less-engaged counterparts as well as fare better in difficult times.

OUT OF THE IVORY TOWER AND INTO THE SUNLIGHT

Your year-end function creates the opportunity for employees from all levels to connect with each other in an informal setting.  This helps to nurture stronger working relationships for the year ahead.

With a more relaxed and open platform employees find it easier to share new ideas and recommendations to senior management and provide honest feedback from the year gone by.  Many an important insight has come to light over a glass of wine.

KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU

Employers to get to know their staff on a more personal level. This ‘out-of-office’ experience brings understanding of who your employees really are and what’s important to them.  This can be hugely beneficial in knowing how to manage them better.

On the flip side, employees get to see their leaders as regular people, and instead of worrying about saying the right thing in front of their boss, everyone can relax, having fun and seeing leaders in a new light.

MAKING YOUR BUDGET GO FURTHER

You’ve decided to commit to the year-end function.  How do you stretch your budget?  Below are a few simple things to consider.

CELEBRATE IN THE SUNSHINE

Lunchtime events can be less expensive than full, formal evening dinners.

In South Africa we have fantastic weather.  Why not consider a picnic in a beautiful garden, beach party or a relaxed buffet lunch.  Include a theme and a best dressed competition to up the fun factor.  There are themes that are always sure winners.

MANAGE THE NUMBERS

Limit the number of attendees by only inviting employees. One way to cut costs is to exclude spouses, partners and/or children. This is easier with a daytime weekday function.

WATCH THE DRINKS’ TAB

Think carefully about alcohol. in most cases, you’ll want to serve alcohol in keeping with the festive feel. But alcohol is often be one of the most expensive elements.   To curb spending, opt to not have an open bar, rather limit the amount and type of alcohol you serve.  Pre-select wine and local beer and exclude spirits and expensive cognacs.  Offer a cash bar for spirits, shooters etc.

Have a hard close on the bar.  Decide that when you are close to your bar limit, to call last rounds and it’s a cash bar from there. Alternatively, in your invitation, state the end time of the function.

GETTING INTO THE SPIRIT

It’s not always how much you spend that counts – it’s the thrill of your theme, the amount of fun everyone’s having and how memorable the experience is.  Here are five ideas that everybody will love.

#1 CREATING THE VIBE

Themes are great and having people dress up is a great start.

It all starts with the invitation and a great idea is to do a count down with daily or weekly teasers to build the excitement.

You can choose your venue according to your theme or dress up a neutral venue with décor ideas.  You can even get each employee to bring something according to the theme to add to the décor.

Entertainment is important.  Keep your entertainment aligned to the theme, whether it’s a roaming act for a cocktail event or a dazzling stage performance at a swanky Great Gatsby themed party, this is one of the places you shouldn’t skimp. It’s the life of the party.  Should your budget not allow for it, go for a DJ who will set the tone with themed music.

#2 DOUBLE UP

Use your year-end function as a team build and launch your plans for the new year.

Incorporating team building is a great way to double up.  Since the activity takes up a fair amount of time, your bar bill can be managed.  You can bring your team closer together and celebrate the end of the year. Cohesive teams are more productive and creative. Just make sure it’s fun and not to cerebral.

#3 TURN THINGS UPSIDE DOWN

The idea here is that you break the mould on the usual routine.

Reverse the program having your awards at the beginning instead of the end. Have the management team as the wait staff.  Create a trivia quiz using company knowledge from the year and pit your departments against one another to win a prize or create a presentation of “great moments in 2019” or even a promotional video ad spoof. You’ll create some great stories and goodwill.

#4 LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Look at the space you already have.  You can transform your office with clever décor and lighting.  If you have access to a parking lot or underground garage you can have a cookout or underground theme.

When it comes to a venue, think outside the box.  Instead of using a venue’s master ballroom, find out about the balcony, courtyard, or rooftop.

This could even turn out to be your WOW factor.

#4 FUN FOOD & BEVERAGE

Believe it or not, the menu and drinks are not actually the hero of the event. You don’t need to have over the top cuisine.  Choose options that are good quality, satisfying and fit in with your theme.

You can have a cocktail set up with canapes, picnic or the usual sit-down meal.  Depending on your venue, food trucks or mobile kitchens are an option.

An Interactive Wine Pairing is a great way to create an experience and can even reduce your overall bar bill.  Since your employees are engaged in the wine activity which stretches over some time, they are less inclined to be ordering from the bar.

#5 JOIN FORCES

Consider talking to subsidiaries, suppliers or even other companies in your office park and have a combined year-end function. It’s a win-win and there may even be some surprising business benefits – you’ll be able to network, meet new people and set the tone for an awesome new year.

By joining resources, you share the fixed costs and bring down the average cost per person.  Your budget can go much further.

WHAT ARE YOU IN FOR?

The million-dollar question is always “what’s your budget?”…  Many people don’t know what their budget should be.  To make things simple, below are some general guideline for 30 guests.  The lower the number of guests, the higher the cost per head.  The inverse also applies.

Level 1 | R695 – R895

Level 2 | R895 – R1095

Level 3 |R1095 – R1395

Level 4 |R1695 – R2295 could include an overnight year end getaway.

Level 5 |The sky’s the limit

The key to pulling off a great year-end function is to know where to splurge and where to save. You need to decide were your priorities lie and then channel your spending there.

Blue Velvet’s extensive experience gives us the ability to truly understand our client’s needs, expectations and constraints.

Our combination of out-of-the-box thinking, creative design and flawless execution is just the ticket for magical events of all shapes and sizes. To be honest, we really do love a great party – particularly a dress-up! With our careful planning and guidance, you can host your year-end function without breaking the bank.

SO GET IN TOUCH AND LET’S GET CREATIVE AND PLAN A YEAR-END CELEBRATION WITH YOUR BUDGET IN MIND.