Many #eventprofs will have – no doubt at some level – been involved in the staff away day. Possibly as the organiser but certainly as an attendee. Love them or loath them every decent sized organisation has one. So in this post I’ve looked at an a case study of a staff away day that actually worked.

Staff away day case study

Initially the organisation was not sure at all about running an away day. They had run them in the past and no one quite knew exactly what they were for and why they were running them. Sound familiar? However in this example the organisation was going through some major change and the board decided that an away day was essential.

So if the event had to happen then the organisers had to make sure that as much value as possible was delivered. They decided to tackle one of the biggest issues that the organisation had. The organisers asked the staff “what is the biggest bug bear that you have with the organisation?” And the answer was clear right across the board: the biggest problem right across the organisations was that staff spent too long in meetings. Sound familiar?

Structuring a staff away day to limit meetings when staff get back to the office

So with this “challenge” at the forefront of the away day the organisers set out to design the event to achieve all of the normal objectives, brining people together and covering certain topics PLUS an objective of reducing the time staff spent in meetings once they get back to the office. This additional objective was a target that would save £10,000s of man hours. Wow! Now that would be useful.

The event had a budget of £50,000 and without a strategic objective like reduce the time staff have in meetings once they return to the office the event may have been a waste of money. The event would take fifty senior staff out of the office for two days! And that is an extra cost on top of the £50,000!

Meeting Design kicked in

The organiser:

  • programmed no session longer than 30mins
  • gave the attendees a very creative environment in which to work
  • broke down barriers between staff at the start of the day
  • set them challenging tasks in challenge timeframes
  • littered the programme and the space with examples of stories of success by working smartly
  • worked with the attendees to create company guidance on how to run shorter meetings
  • gave everyone a copy of “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

They also supported and encouraged the organisations to put in place a plan to target the reduction of hours per week that the attendee spent in meetings and to make sure they measured the results. They also suggested the organisation cost the savings.

Six months later the value of the staff away day was clear in monetary terms. 1000s of hours had been shaved from unnecessary meetings across the organisations. The staff away day covered all of the strategic issues but also significantly reduced the costs to the organisation. The staff away day this time was a wise investment. 

The organisers were Gallus Events. We specialise in helping organisations run better events and large meetings including staff away days. We will be covering other similar examples at our Better Meetings and Events seminar in London on the 5th November. Come join us!

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Published On: October 28th, 2015 / Categories: Behavioural Change, Conference Architect, Conferences & Congresses, Meeting Design /