Company events are often notoriously boring with employees and even employers dreading them as soon as they are announced. While they are typically called retreats or parties, many of them are stodgy, quiet and very poorly attended. The two main killers of corporate events are low budgets and poor or late planning, both of which can be solved by planning early. Consider that tip as well as these others before creating the next stellar corporate event for company growth and employee recognition.

Start Planning Early

Because most corporate parties that end in boredom can be traced back to poor planning, the key is to get the ball rolling early. In fact, starting at least a year ahead of time is a great way to ensure that the right budget is in place, to sign people up to lead the event and to seek ideas from coworkers about what they would like to see at their event. Planners need to remember that the event is not about them but about all the employees corporately and should seek to involve them throughout the process. A major part of planning will be to set goals for the event. Some corporate events are all about having a good time and building coworker relationships. However, others are more about celebrating goals and rewarding top employees. Depending on the goal, the event may have a different focus.

Make It a Destination

Who wants to hang around the office for a party when that is where employees spend the majority of their time each week? Instead, party planners can seek suggestions for a new destination that will get the employees excited to attend. Companies with enormous budgets for team building could pay for out-of-state or out-of-country destinations for employees and their significant others. However, for most companies, this will not be possible. In the case of a smaller budget, consider a unique venue in the same city. The type of venue will depend on the type of business one has. For example, modern businesses run in a casual atmosphere may do well with parties held in dance clubs or on charter yachts or may even want to rent out a skybox for a sporting event. More traditional work atmospheres may point more towards an outdoor pavilion, ballroom or upscale restaurant. Unique spots could include renting out a museum for the night or having an employee family event at a zoo.

Have Uniquely Fun Entertainment

No matter where the event is held, it must have unique entertainment to be a winner. Sadly, this is where party planners make the most mistakes and often come up with parties that no one wants to attend or where attendees feel awkward or bored. While there are dozens of entertainment options available in nearly any locale, the key is to match the entertainment to the company culture and overall office personality. Traditional offices may want to veer away from entertainment that requires participation and may instead seek quieter options, such as watching a newly released movie at an outdoor movie theater, which would include an outdoor projector screen, which could be set up in any green space or even on a boat. Outdoor movie theaters allow individuals to relax in outdoor seating while watching a movie on a large screen under the stars.

Give Great Prizes

If the corporate event is being planned as a way to recognize certain employees for service, prizes are a must. However, ensure that everyone is excited to attend by providing amazing prizes, such as flat-screen televisions, iPads or high-dollar gift cards rather than cheaper gifts. Another option is to reward the top employee with a dream vacation for four or with extra vacation time along with money for airline tickets. These types of prizes will catch attendees’ attention and will make them want to be the top employees next year, leading to increased company motivation and teamwork.

Instead of forcing the fun, corporate event planners should be sure to get feedback from employees about the event in order to plan an even better attended party next year. The most stellar events are those that have something for everyone, from food and dancing to quiet entertainment and outdoor games. Keep parties from being tacky by using high quality caterers, popular entertainment, company-funded destinations and highly prized rewards.