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Four tips for engaging millennials at corporate events

Four tips for engaging millennials at corporate events

Lauren ChereskinGeneration Y demands marketing attention, and they deserve it. By 2020, 46 percent of the workforce will consist of millennials. For this dominating demographic a traditional workplace isn’t enough, and neither are traditional corporate events. It takes more than a fancy venue to get this crowd genuinely engaged, but tailoring your approach to include millennial-specific features can change that.

1) Go tech-social

In the midst of the most digitally connected decade, the way to a millennial heart is through the screens they spend their time on. Tech-savvy millennials are constantly refreshing feeds for the latest in their personal and professional circles on multiple social platforms, so posting about your event on your company’s social pages won’t go unnoticed. Sharing visual sneak peeks of the venue or details about what the night has in store are simple ways to entice followers about your corporate event and create an enduring buzz.

Take it a step further and send an invite to their inbox. Digital invitations demonstrate your company’s grasp on modern technology and are always a nice surprise to find when scrolling through daily emails. Not only are e-vites easy to create and customize, they streamline the planning process with real-time RSVP management perks and automatic attendee reminders.

2) Add in interactive elements 

Interactive events invite this energetic group to bond with their coworkers beyond dining tables and office talk. While millennials crave collaboration, they often find it difficult to break the ice with older colleagues or those in more senior levels while at work.

Creating interactive opportunities outside the office can help level the playing field and bridge the generation gap. Unique experiences, such as sushi rolling or glass blowing, help remove hierarchical barriers to create an open environment where colleagues can learn a new skill together and interact freely. By giving millennials the chance to build relationships with colleagues they wouldn’t normally interact with, you not only broaden their understanding of the company but also establish the groundwork for collaboration in the future.

3) Encourage personalization

Millennials want to contribute in any way possible. This “selfie” generation has a strong sense of personal awareness and strives to express their individuality on and off their social accounts. Events that present opportunities for personalization, like making your own pizza or cocktail, give employees the chance to express their uniqueness.

This personalization element can be added following the event as well. Millennials want to learn and grow with their organization. Ask their feedback on the evening and allow millennials to engage in meaningful conversations with company figureheads. Providing a sense of employee value will encourage and resonate with feelings of company loyalty. If you don’t succeed the first time, this feedback will be beneficial for enhancing millennial engagement when planning future corporate events.

4) Make sure your event is social-media worthy

Millennials love their smartphones, so give them an excuse to use them!

This group is always looking for something new to share online, which makes it easy for companies to incorporate social-media-worthy opportunities from invite to event night. Create an event-specific hashtag campaign and give millennials the chance to share their excitement for the upcoming event.

Hashtags also allow companies to conveniently build a catalog of all posts about the event, which provides an alternative form of feedback from millennials, as they are guaranteed to use your hashtag on photos they share on social throughout the night. Pre-planned photo opportunities, such as a photo booth or branded backdrop, can be fun ways to get employees engaged and interacting with each other. Photographers can upload the photos online so guests can access them automatically with smartphones and post to all of their social media accounts.

It's the little things when it comes to millennials. Sending a digital invite or asking a few follow-up questions about their personal experience goes a long way with this large cohort of young professionals. By adding a few of these elements to your next event, you can transform the traditional corporate event into a fun, interactive experience that is sure to be millennial-approved.

Lauren Chereskin is a client services director at the Chicago headquarters office of Kapow Events.

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