May 22, 2018

Do’s And Don’ts For Your Next Corporate Event

We’ve put together a list of crucial Do’s and Don’ts to help you plan a corporate event that your employees will love and your company will appreciate.

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Corporate Event Planning Do's and Don't

You’ve been tasked with planning your next corporate team building party.


There are tons of great corporate party ideas out there. Unfortunately, it may seem like you have to sift through quite a few bad ones before landing on the perfect plan.

Your main task in all of this is to pick an event or theme that isn’t a snoozefest. In other words, basically steer clear of any event idea that could have been featured on an episode of The Office.

So where to start?

We’ve put together a list of crucial Do’s and Don’ts to help you plan a corporate event that your employees will love and your company will appreciate. This list will assist you when it comes to choosing a company event idea that your employees will enjoy and learn from.

Let’s get started!

Don’t: Do it all on your own

Don’t worry:

We’re not doubting your party planning skills.

It’s simply more likely that you’ll encounter issues along the way if you try to plan every single detail of the party on your own—and as you’ll soon learn, planning a corporate event often involves more than reserving the back room of a restaurant and making sure the projector works.

Quick tips:

  • Unless your events past years have been a smashing success—and by that we mean it got rave reviews from the whole team—try a new venue.
  • Avoid the first venue ideas that come to mind. These will likely be the types of places where company events are often held (ie. restaurant back rooms, hotels, event centers), and the key to a great event is originality!
  • Ask your team what they might be interested in doing!

Do: Work with a corporate event planner

Regardless of where you host your corporate party or event, we advise working with a corporate event planner.


Because whether you’re an office manager or run your own company, “party planning” likely isn’t part of your job description. It’s better to leave that job to the experts and focus on your own.

An event planner will also clue you in on a given venue’s event packages, helping you itemize costs, set a great menu and iron out all the details.

At Big Thrill Factory, our event planners will help you channel your corporate party ideas into an exciting, custom set of activities that your employees will love.

Quick tips:

  • Find a company event venue venue that offers dedicated event planners.
  • Make sure you have a list of questions prepared for your party planner so you know all of your options!

Don’t: Play cheesy team-building games

As fun as it is to go around a circle and take turns rattling off personal and professional goals, a corporate event has so much more potential to actually impact the effectiveness and morale of your team.

Team building isn’t necessarily about discussing hopes and dreams or talking through sensitive HR scenarios. It’s about familiarizing the members of a team with each other and improving the way they work together.

The Office GIF

Quick tips:

  • Ask your team how they feel! You'll likely find that icebreakers, call-and-response games, or "stretching breaks" aren't necessary.

Do: Plan fun activities that encourage teamwork and healthy competition

Nothing encourages teamwork like group activities that are genuinely fun.

Whether it’s a game that encourages tactics and team strategy like laser tag or an activity that creates friendly competition like bowling or go karts, your employees be thankful you didn’t set up a run-of-the mill retreat for them. Along the way, they will learn more about each other from working together in an exciting situation than they would have from tackling discussion questions together in a conference room.

Quick tips:

  • Search for a company event venue with a plethora of great attractions
  • Make sure these attractions have some sort of relevance to teamwork and competition.

Don’t: Make it just a meal and drinks

We get it. Sitting around a table for a nice meal and some conversation is a great way to strengthen relationships. It’s bonding 1.0.

But that doesn’t have to be the only activity involved!

In fact, a large group of employees sitting around a table and talking is wishful thinking. It’s more likely that the employees who already know each other best will end up finding a way to sit next to each other, and will stay out of the larger conversation in favor of hanging out with each other.

The large-scale meal also introduces an element of formality that’s unnecessary at a corporate team building event.

Even if your event includes important group business meetings held during a meal time, don’t make that the only feature. That surely doesn’t sound like much of a party.

Quick tip:

  • Avoid restaurants, hotels, and other venues that are centered exclusively on offering event space and food.

Do: Include food, drinks and fun

big thrill factory food

There’s a simple alternative to a dinner or luncheon retreat:

Doing more.

Take the example of a company picnic:

A typical company picnic consists of renting space at a park and catering food. It's possible some simple lawn games are set-up, but activities largely consist of conversing with co-workers and their guests, and the main attraction becomes the food.

Instead, the company could visit a entertainment venue. The food is still covered, and the space opens up the door to new types of interactions that can't be replicated at a traditional company picnic.

Hold your company retreat at a location that facilitates business meetings, great meals, and discussions while infusing the rest of the experience with fun!

Quick tips:

  • Find a venue that offers a full menu while also offering fun attractions
  • Work with event planners to manage time spent at the event, leaving ample time for the meal while also allowing time for events.

Don’t: Bring your own food

Repeat after me:

“I can do better than a box lunch.”

Yes—yes you can.

Nothing kills the fun of a work event like the usual bland turkey or ham sandwich, apple and bag of potato chips.

It’s likely that these pre-made meals are worse than what an employee would have brought to work for their lunch that day, anyway.

The office pizza GIF

Conversely, if you’re hosting the event at a restaurant, then the food becomes the only attraction, which brings us right back to “Don’t” #2.

Quick tips:

  • Please, please, please, do not order cheesy box lunches. That is all.

Do: Treat your corporate event like a special occasion

This may feel like a bit of tough news:

A work event is still a work event, regardless of where it takes place and what happens there.

Your employees have plenty fun activities that they love to take part in with their friends and family outside of work. If you want them to get the most out of a work-sponsored retreat or team-building activity, it has to feel like something they would love to do in their free time—or even better—something they wouldn’t have the opportunity or time to do on their own.

While it’s obvious that this shouldn’t stop you and your employees from being professional and getting done whatever work needs to get done, it should still feel like a reward, not a chore.

Quick tips:

  • Build up the anticipation with an evite to your team that gives them a window into what the event may entail.
  • Talk to members of your leadership team to ensure they know event details. This way, they can spread the word among your employees and answer any questions.

Don’t: Host the corporate party at your office

From time to time, it’s ok to host a party at the office. It’s common for customer appreciation parties and office-warming parties to be held at the office, but the list should pretty much stop there.

Here’s the truth of the matter:

The best way to make an office party feel like work for your employees is to host it at the office. Your employees already spend 40+ hours per week in the office space—working.

Chances are, they would welcome a breath of fresh air and a fun event at an off-site location.

Quick tips:

  • No office parties, please. It won't be fun. Trust us.

Do: Host the party somewhere fun

Axe throwing, bowling, and arcade games are all a lot more fun than socializing with a plastic glass of wine 15 feet from your cubicle.

That’s not an opinion—it’s a fact.

Not to mention, they give your employees an opportunity to get to know each other in a completely different setting, which adds depth to relationships between co-workers.

Company party ideas don’t have to be stuffy and stereotypical

Whether you’re planning an employee appreciation event, a holiday party or conference entertainment, it’s important to recognize that professionalism can be maintained while having fun and participating in exciting, unique activities.

Make sure you give your employees the opportunity to get to know each other outside of work in a way that promotes teamwork and conversation.

At Big Thrill Factory, our event planners will help you set up the perfect custom experience for your team, from food to activities and meeting space with audio/video capability.

Choose from our Minnetonka and Oakdale locations and give your employees the fantastic event they deserve.

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