MarCom Group + LMD hosted our second All Hands event together as sister companies where we gathered to learn, hang out, do good in the community, and recognize the team’s hard work. Team-building events are fantastic for fostering cooperation, enhancing communication, and boosting morale. Whether you’re planning an event for a small startup or a large corporation, the key to success lies in these ten ingredients.

1: Defined Goals. Before you start planning, define your objectives. Are you looking to use your event to improve teamwork, enhance problem-solving skills, or create a more cohesive team? Do you have specific areas to discuss, actions you want employees to take, and things for them to remember? Having a clear understanding of your goals will guide your event planning process. Also, take this opportunity to communicate your organization’s goals with your team.

“Heading into this year’s All Hands, we had some very specific goals in mind. This year was no different. First and foremost, we wanted to continue to foster an atmosphere of camaraderie across our sister companies, where colleagues could continue to lean on, learn, and grow from each other’s talents.” – Scott Van Der Meid, Executive Vice President, LMD

2: The Planning Committee. Events involve many moving pieces. A key to success is appointing a planning committee to coordinate logistics. Our planning committee made crucial decisions like vendor selection, communication, accommodations, food choices, and more. It’s important to have a diverse committee so your event planning process incorporates a broad spectrum of ideas and perspectives. We extended an open invitation to all company members to ensure inclusivity, invested participation, and collaboration.

3: Collaboration. MarCom Group and LMD brought our employees together at the all-hands event with a goal of team building–not just between companies, but between departments, accounts, teams, and organizations. We combined our expertise and creativity in everything from event planning, to scheduled activities, to team brainstorming and idea sharing.

4: Team Needs. Know your team members’ personalities, preferences, and needs. This is a big ask—it ranges from finding out what activities your team enjoys and what they are excited to learn. We used feedback from last year’s post-event survey and garnered insight across agencies to build our itinerary.

5: The Right Location. Selecting the right venue is crucial to the success of your team-building event. Our team is from all over the world, so we chose Crystal City, VA, for the wide range of activities and restaurants it offers, as well as its proximity to both MarCom Group and LMD’s headquarters and two major airports. The hotel we chose could accommodate the entire team and had plenty of space for all of our activities. Consider factors like accessibility (for both travel and employees with disabilities), amenities, and overall ambiance.

6: Constant Communication. Keep your team informed about the event’s date, time, location, and agenda well in advance. Provide necessary details, such as dress code or required equipment, to be sure everyone is prepared. Above all, maintain communication throughout the event–we used a cloud-based, instant messaging platform to organize rides, meetups, and answer questions about the event.

7: A Mix of Activities. Choose activities that align with your objectives and cater to your team’s interests and abilities but remember to mix up both teams and activities. In addition to presentations by leadership, our teams participated in an environmentally focused service project that allowed us to give back to the community. The corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity also enabled us to spend time with colleagues we may not have the opportunity to work with every day.

“The team rolled up their sleeves and dug in, literally, to clean up Bluemont Park and plant native species. It’s nice to be part of an organization that is truly committed to the environment.” – Les Kodlick, Chief Communications Officer, MarCom Group

8: Culture. As woman-owned small businesses, MarCom Group and LMD are committed to cultivating a culture of innovation that encourages the team to think outside of the box, embrace diversity, and explore creative avenues. By infusing our events with this innovative culture, we strengthened our teams and created a unique and unforgettable experience, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose that defines our organizations.

9: Employee Recognition. Acknowledging people’s hard work is essential to company morale. MarCom Group and LMD recognized teams and individuals from both organizations with our first Neon Awards Ceremony, which recognized outstanding team members, exceptional client service, and award-winning projects.

10: Gather Feedback. Your job isn’t done when everyone leaves. Conduct an after-action debrief with stakeholders and gather attendee feedback to identify things that went well and areas for improvement. This important step will help ensure future events will be even better.

A successful team-building event requires careful planning, thoughtful consideration of your team’s needs, and a commitment to achieving your objectives. We hope that by referencing these 10 ingredients, you’ll be well on your way to creating a memorable team-building experience that strengthens bonds, improves teamwork, and contributes to the overall success of your organization.