Virtual Event Planning Checklist for People Leaders

As remote work proliferates, there’s been a massive increase in the prevalence of virtual team building activities. Indeed, the need to keep teams connected and engaged is arguably the top priority for People Leaders.

But as anyone who’s hosted and facilitated their own event knows, planning an awesome team-building activity is no small task. In order to create a successful one, you’ll need to ask questions like: what is the goal of this event? How often do I need to run these? What’s my budget? What kinds of activities are my employees excited to partake in? 

If you’re new to event planning, this can be overwhelming. So, we’ve created a 6 step guide to help simplify the process for you, sanity intact. 

✅ Define your objectives

NEW-HIRE ONBOARDING

If you’re actively hiring new employees, you may want to consider adding some virtual events during their onboarding. Bringing on new talent is a significant milestone for your company and it should be treated as a celebratory welcome. 

Now, we’re not suggesting throwing an event for every new employee–that would be chaos. There are many ways to integrate new remote hires into your team culture without breaking the bank. For example, consider creating cohorts of newer employees and throwing a group event for them. This will help build trust amongst your new team members and boost the confidence needed to confide in each other when necessary. 

ONGOING ENGAGEMENT

  • Strengthen Communication – Create events that require effective communication between team members to collaboratively solve fun problems.
  • Break Barriers – Foster a diverse and inclusive environment. Virtual DEI activities are a great way for team members to learn about each other’s cultures and interests.
  • Experience Connection – Provide your teams with opportunities to have organic conversations; similar to the “watercooler” moments you don’t get in a virtual setting.

CELEBRATE MILESTONES

Typically a company will have an all-hands gathering at the end of each quarter to celebrate the achievements of the team members. If you’re expecting a large gathering of employees, you could consider booking a general virtual experience like this cooking experience.

Upgrade your team socials
Question Roulette is the best Zoom alternative for running icebreaker activities that delight

✅ Create a budget

Considering the many occasions your company has to warrant a virtual event, allocating resources can be tricky–especially for a smaller organization. The key here is to review your goals and prioritize.

For companies still in the process of establishing a distinct workplace culture, we’d recommend focusing on making the onboarding process as engaging as possible. This way, you’ll make a great first impression on your new employees from Day 1 and won’t have to fix engagement issues later on in the employee lifecycle.

✅ Let the team decide

Connect with your team and let them vote on the next event! This will help take some of the burden off of you and guarantee the event will be a hit amongst your employees. 

To collect feedback directly, we recommend using a free tool like Google Forms to send a quick poll to your teams. Be sure to give everyone plenty of time and options! We’ll list a few below:

  • Team Bingo: If you live under a rock and don’t know what Bingo is, it’s a really simple game where each player gets a 5x5 grid. The goal is to be the first player to get a “bingo”, i.e. all the squares in a row, column, or diagonal marked off.
  • Virtual Scavenger Hunt: We’ve all done scavenger hunts in real life, but how about virtually? This is a simple idea that can be really fun when executed well. As a fun side benefit, it gets your team up and out of their chairs - much needed during long days of working remotely and sitting at a desk! 
  • Word Sneak: If you’re a fan of Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show, you might have heard of Word Sneak before. However, we’ve slightly modified it to make it a fun virtual team building activity designed to allow your remote team to get to know one another better.

For set-up instructions check out these 4 Ideas for Fun Team Building Activities.


✅ Coordinate logistics of the event

The best thing about planning a virtual event is, from a logistics standpoint, it’s much less stressful than planning something on-site. Nevertheless, you’ll want to plan a few things in advance to ensure your event runs smoothly on the day of the event.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TOOLS

Zoom seems to be the go-to video conferencing platform for many remote teams nowadays; and honestly it’s a great choice for team-building events with its handy Breakout Room feature. There are others to choose from as well – Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams.

PICKING THE PERFECT FACILITATOR

Finding a great host for your event is more than picking someone with a good quality camera and microphone. Yes – those things are important, but overall success will largely depend on the facilitator’s personality and how well they engage team members. 

Many online experiences aren’t designed to engage your team, but rather to entertain them. The distinction is usually in the type of presentation - whether you’re bringing a speaker in, for example, or an actual facilitator who’s there to guide interactions among your team members. Check back over your goals and decide which one is needed at the moment. If you’re looking for engagement, make sure you find a facilitator that can read the room and get people talking!

FINDING TIME FOR THE WHOLE TEAM

Last on the list: find a time where everyone can attend! This is much easier to do if you start your planning far in advance. It’s even easier to do if you schedule recurring engagement activities.

For maximum participation, schedule your events at a time your company typically gathers - such as an all-hands. Overall, the best thing to do here is communicate with your team well ahead of the event and ask what they would prefer!

✅ Collect feedback and revisit goals

The last, and arguably most important, step is collecting feedback and determining whether the event achieved the goals you set in the beginning. Many People Leaders overlook this step as it’s easy to call it a day and assume your team had a great time.

Instead, consider having a third party observer – someone who wasn’t partaking in the event – to keep an eye on some of the quantitative and qualitative metrics that could give insight into the event’s effectiveness. Things like how much time team members spent talking versus the host. Or how long it took each team to progress through each phase of the event. It’s easy to miss the nuances that can identify whether or not an activity was successful, so we recommend recording the event and revisiting it afterwards to catch anything eye-opening you might have missed in real-time. 

Once you’ve gathered all your learnings, develop an action plan to reduce any bottlenecks that become apparent and start optimizing your events for maximum fun and engagement. This step takes a bit of work, but it will make the difference between a strongly bonded team and one that actively avoids future events.

Subscribe to our remote work newsletter
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.