Expect the unexpected: how to throw an unforgettable event
How do you throw meaningful company events, year on year, find the perfect venue, source diverse catering options, decide on decorations, and organize entertainment on the night?
These are exactly the kind of challenges our central Events and Employee Experience team deals with, when they plan our Winter and Summer parties, along with a host of other events. Meet Carla and Viktoria, the team behind Delivery Hero’s unforgettable parties.
Always have a plan B
So what exactly does an events team do at Delivery Hero? The short answer is: a multitude of things. From twice-yearly company parties to organizing sports events, company merchandise and gifts, kids days, anniversary presents, culture days, Halloween parties, and much more, there’s always something going on at our headquarters. More often than not, you’ll find our Events team behind the scenes making sure everything runs smoothly.
The Events team at our Berlin HQ is used to being ready for the unexpected. “An event never entirely goes to plan,” Carla (Manager, Events) says. “No matter how carefully you plan, there’s always something you didn’t anticipate. But that’s part of the fun, and we try to take that feedback into planning the next event.”
The event manager’s checklist:
- Keep a cool head (when you panic, everyone panics)
- Be ready for the unexpected
- Always have a plan B in mind
- Be flexible but organized
- Be precise and determined
Sticking to these rules can come in handy on the big day. “I still remember at one of our previous company parties we arrived on the morning of the event and the venue was a total mess,” Viktoria (Associate, Events) says. “Nothing looked as it should, there was trash lying around everywhere and there were no decorations whatsoever. We had to really pull together and clean everything just in time for the start of the party.”
Festive Fright Night: the treacherous road to a wicked party
When it comes to throwing a good event, preparation is key. Groundwork starts five to six months ahead of the big day, starting with finding a suitable venue. A lot harder than it sounds, when the guest list consists of almost 1000 people and you are looking for a venue which is accessible and preferably within the Berlin ring.
“We usually look at 7-8 different venues before making a final decision,” Carla says. “Sometimes the decision is relatively fast, like with this Winter Party, where a colleague recommended a venue to us. But even so, we still visited a number of venues before making that call.”
After locking down the venue in July, it was time to get stuck into planning and creating a vision and theme for the evening. “We held a focus group with employees to make sure the theme felt accessible to everyone,” Viktoria says. “We do everything we can to make sure everyone feels welcome and included at any event we organize at Delivery Hero, and that of course includes employee feedback.”
Next step: decorations and entertainment. Dreaming up a number of activities that will appeal to a large and diverse group of attendees. This year’s theme: Festive Fright Night. Holiday cheer with a sinister twist. Think Christmas trees, skeletons, spider webs and gingerbread houses.
With a theme in place, it’s time to kick off the communications campaign, prepare invites, posters and decide on food (catering to different tastes and dietary requirements). The team works with a lot of internal teams like Brand, internal communications etc. to create these assets.
There’s also an added element of care to our company parties: they are carbon neutral. “This year, we started offsetting the company parties to ensure we take responsibility for our environmental footprint,” Carla says. “In the end, we want to make a positive mark with our parties, and that includes the environment.”
Caring is a big part of why the team does what it does. Although they are great fun, company events also contribute to an amazing employee experience, bring people together, create shared experiences, and connect different people and cultures.
“We want to show that we value our employees, and our events are a way of giving something back,” Viktoria says. Getting every detail right can be tricky, so feedback is a great tool to keep aiming higher, Viktoria concludes: “Getting direct feedback from employees and hearing what they enjoyed about our events is one of the most rewarding aspects of our job.”