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Learn how to host the most successful company kickoff: including the biggest mistake companies make, the one question you must answer, and 10 ideas to get started.

Most company leaders want to create a great company kickoff and set their teams up for success in 2022. 

But, in a post-COVID world, company gatherings are hard to create and navigate. 

Many are choosing either completely digital events or at least hybrid — digital and in-person kickoffs. 

Which are a lot harder to make work. 

But at the same time, digital work technologies are an opportunity to create new and different ways of delivering a uniquely powerful experience. 

The Biggest Kickoff Mistake Companies Make

Now, after years of dealing with the new work realities, company leaders and event planners have figured out how to do a good job at the digital basics:

  • Provide updates on plans and strategies
  • Train people on new products and processes
  • Even getting everyone motivated to tackle a new year with gusto 

All remotely. 

But, great kickoff events are not just about communicating information. Or even providing much needed inspiration and motivation. 

As a result, most companies are about to make a giant mistake. 

Boring the sh*t out of their people at kickoff.

Black pug dog yawning of boredom.

It’s no longer enough to just “get the basics right”.

Great kickoffs must be a legendary experience that bonds people together while laying out a powerfully clear vision for the year ahead.

This year more than ever, your kickoff must answer the question:

Why should I stay?”

Because at record low levels of unemployment, the kinds of people you want to attract, retain, and develop have a lot of choice.

Great Kickoffs Connect to the Vision and Each Other

Kickoffs are most importantly about human connection. Building relationships. Connecting people to each other. And connecting people to your company’s vision and mission. It is a foundational human need. We all want to feel connected, before we get busy working together.

But researchers are now reporting a shocking 44% of workers feel disconnected from their colleagues, and according to Gallop at least 60 percent of employees can’t honestly say they feel engaged on the job

Given this data, while shocking, it comes as no surprise that as many as 55% of people are considering a job change. Right now.

That makes this year’s kickoff the most important ever.

10 Ideas for a Successful Kickoff

Whether it’s a full company kickoff or a sales kickoff, you must address the elephant in the room to be successful. The question most of your people are probably asking.

Given all the places I could work, why here?

To answer this question, companies are thinking differently about their kickoffs. Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. Ask yourself: “If our event was legendary, what would it look like?”
  2. Establish clear kickoff goals 
  3. Pick a theme that powerfully communicates why your company’s mission matters
  4. Design more than “just” an event – create an experience
  5. Create an environment for people to connect (digitally & in-person if you’re doing a hybrid event)
  6. Create digital team-building opportunities
  7. Create digital networking opportunities (leverage digital apps like Icebreakers)
  8. Incorporate regular engagement, discussion, and participation into the experience
  9. Make it fun
  10. Reinforce your culture and values

For individuals to thrive, we must foster the real human connections that build relationships, teams and cultures. 

Only through powerful, personal connections, can we come together in a shared sense of mission, purpose, and vision.

So as you work out the details and all of the moving parts involved with your kickoff, don’t forget the big picture. 

Creating an experience that connects your people to each other and your mission is job #1. 

NOTE: a number of market-leading sales teams at modern companies use Airspeed as the “digital icebreaker” for their company/sales kickoff events. Learn more about Airspeed’s community-building apps and install them for free.

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