How to Plan a Corporate Event in 9 Easy Steps

Improve employee attendance

Arranging a corporate event can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re striving to make it as effective and memorable as possible. But don’t let those fears and negative thinking stop you from organizing a gathering that will benefit both your team members and your entire business.

Whether you’re throwing an intimate pizza party for ten, a staff training session for dozens, or a grand tech conference for thousands, follow these step-by-step tips on how to plan a corporate event and ensure its success.

Let’s get to it right away!

1.   Approach event organization as a project

Organizing a corporate event requires a considerable amount of planning and execution. And by approaching it like a project, you’ll find yourself well-equipped to tackle the task at hand.

Adopting a project management mindset helps to stay organized, prioritize tasks, and minimize potential mistakes.

Here are a couple of things you can do to get into such a mindset:

  • Create a list of tasks: This may sound obvious, but creating a list of all the tasks you need to complete is the first step to getting things done. Make sure all the tasks are clearly defined, and break them down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Then, you may estimate how much time each task will take and allocate them strategically across the team.
  • Assign roles: Get yourself some help and ask a few competent team members to play specific roles in the event organization. Confirm that everyone understands their responsibilities and knows what they’re accountable for in order to prevent confusion and rest assured that everything is done correctly.
  • Make a schedule: Time management is critical for planning companywide events. Thus, you need to create a detailed schedule that outlines all the major milestones and deadlines, including when to send out invitations, when to confirm vendor bookings, and when to finalize the event itinerary.
  • Track progress: Adopt a reliable system that lets you monitor project progress regularly and adjust your schedule and tasks as needed. Such a system will allow you to see if everything stays on the right track and identify any potential issues before they cause serious problems.

actiTIME offers an easy way to plan out your project tasks, set estimates and deadlines for them, and then track performance progress in any convenient format: a weekly timesheet or calendar, the Kanban board, visual charts, or data-rich reports.

2.   Set goals and objectives for the event

When organizing companywide events, it’s essential to keep them as purposeful and aligned with the organization’s overall strategy as possible. Otherwise, your event may simply become a mindless money-throwing occasion.

Effective goal setting can help you understand what you want to achieve from the event, whether it’s increased brand awareness, employee engagement, or team proficiency. Moreover, clear objectives will enable you to measure the success of the event since they provide measurable and quantifiable metrics for result evaluation.

For better outcomes, we recommend you use the SMART goals framework:

  • Be specific about what you want to achieve: Instead of setting a vague goal like, “Make the event successful,” be specific and narrow down your goal. For example, your specific goal could be, “to boost employee morale by 30%.”
  • Make it measurable: Identifying what you want to measure and how you will track it is essential in determining the success of your event. For instance, to evaluate if the event helped to boost employee morale, you may carry out pre and post-event surveys.
  • Ensure your goals are achievable: Be realistic and honest about the available resources and timeline. For example, setting a goal to increase employee morale by 30% may be unrealistic if you don’t know what dissatisfies your team members in the first plays and don’t know what kind of event activities they will find meaningful and helpful.
  • Keep it relevant: Ensure the set goals align with your company’s vision, mission, and values. They must be relevant to your business, attendees, and stakeholders. For example, setting a goal to raise $3000 for charity aligns well with the goal to increase a business’s corporate social responsibility.
  • Set time-bound goals: Deadlines help to improve accountability and motivation. A time-bound goal for an event could be, “to raise an extra $5000 for charity within a month after the event.”

3.   Identify your target audience

Corporate events provide a great opportunity to establish meaningful connections with stakeholders. Yet to achieve this, identifying the target audience is vital.

Here’s why:

  • Understanding your audience allows you to tailor the event to meet their specific needs and interests, which ultimately increases engagement and satisfaction.
  • Targeted marketing efforts help to attract the right attendees, and keep the messaging clear and resonating with their needs. Ultimately, this guarantees that your event is attended exactly by those who are most likely to benefit from it.

When identifying your target audience, there are the two main things to consider about it:

  • Demographics: Are you targeting CEOs, marketing managers, or perhaps investors? These are all vastly different groups with varying interests and expectations. So, it’s important to do your research and comprehend which needs and desires your audience members hold.
  • Psychographics: This includes personality traits, values, interests, and behaviors. These factors prompt what type of experience will be truly immersive and engaging for your audience members and help you craft it in a way that will resonate with their beliefs and aspirations.

4.   Define your budget

Without a clear and concise budget, you risk seeing your expenses quickly spiral out of control, leading to unnecessary stress and financial strain. Defining a budget upfront not only helps ensure that the event stays within the company’s financial means but also allows for more strategic decision-making when it comes to selecting vendors, venues, and other event details.

Here are a few tips on how to think your budget through:

  • Start with a vision: A clear vision for your event will help you determine what elements are essential, which ones can be skipped, and where you can get creative. Thoroughly incorporate all the necessary factors: your target audience, perfect venue, catering, staff, marketing and promotion, logistics and transport, guest speakers and performers, entertainment, decorations, equipment, insurance, and contingency funding.
  • Be realistic: Nobody enjoys having to cut back on an event due to unrealistic expectations and a blown-over budget. So, it’s crucial to be honest about what you can and cannot afford. Start with a budget goal, then allocate funds strategically. Be prepared to do some research and negotiate as much as possible.
  • Prioritize: You can’t have it all! Prioritizing is a critical element of event budget planning, and it’s essential to prioritize the most critical elements and let go of the less important ones. Figure out what you can’t do without (e.g., a more spacious and expensive venue, higher-quality food, or entertainment) and then allocate funds accordingly.
  • Leave wiggle room: Even the most thoroughly planned events can have unforeseen expenses. It’s advisable to leave an extra percentage in the budget for miscellaneous expenses like additional snacks, last-minute changes, and logistics errors.

5.   Schedule the event

When running a corporate event, you have to deal with a lot of versatile variables and coordinate vendors and attendees as smoothly as possible to ensure the best experience for everyone involved.

In other words, there are many moving parts that must come together just perfectly to make an event successful. Luckily, there’s one invaluable tool to help you take the situation under better control – a schedule.

Here are a few tips on how to make a good one for yourself:

  • Pick a date: This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are a few things you’ll want to consider before you set anything in stone. Is there a major holiday or industry event happening around the same time? Will any of your key players be out of town or otherwise unavailable? Do your research and pick a date that will work for as many people as possible.
  • Plan out logistics: What time of day will your event be held? When will the food be served? When will the invited keynote speakers do their presentations? Map out every behind-the-scene activity and all the fun stuff by hours so you can stay on track and make sure everything runs smoothly.
  • Use a reliable scheduling tool: There is a ton of great options out there, from simple digital calendars to more advanced event scheduling systems. Choose the one that’s right for your needs – it will help you stay on top of your to-do list and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

Pro tip:

No matter how often you hold corporate events, actiPLANS can help you schedule them in an effortless and flexible way.

This intuitive scheduling solution allows you to create different event activities and allocate them across employees and dates on a visual timeline so that everyone knows what they’re supposed to do and when. You also have the option to create multiple kinds of events and use the system just to inform your team members when they are supposed to attend those events.

Visual event schedule, actiPLANS

Besides highly flexible settings and visual timelines, actiPLANS features:

  • Automated email notifications that alert employees on the latest schedule changes and save you lots of time on team communication.
  • A comprehensive leave management functionality that allows employees to submit leave requests in a matter of seconds and lets you easily schedule events and activities considering the planned staff absences.
  • Informative reports that help to analyze employees’ availability trends to drive workforce improvement and provide invaluable data for better resource allocation.

actiPLANS makes event scheduling a breeze! See it for yourself during a free 30-day trial.

6.   Choose a suitable venue

Choosing the perfect venue for a corporate event can be tricky business, but don’t start sweating bullets just yet! By following the below steps, you will manage to find a corporate event venue that checks all the right boxes, leaving you and your attendees feeling happy and fulfilled:

  • Remember about your audience: Before you start Googling “best event spaces near me,” it’s essential to know who will be attending your event. Are they mostly business executives or more creatively inclined individuals? Would they prefer a rustic ambiance or something more modern and sleek? Knowing your audience’s preferences and tastes will help you narrow down your options.
  • Consider your budget: Money talks, and you need to ensure it’s speaking in your favor. Determine how much you’re willing to spend before you start exploring your options. While a grand ballroom might seem like a dream come true, it might also blow your budget out of the water.
  • Location is key: Are most of the attendees locals or are they traveling from out of town? If the latter, ensure the venue is situated close to hotels. Also, consider accessibility and parking, especially if attendees will be driving.
  • Look at the space: What size do you need, and what capacity should the venue have? Will you have a sit-down dinner or a cocktail party? Ensure the venue can accommodate your event’s needs, including any special requests like staging or audio-visual equipment.
  • Check for amenities: Ensure the venue offers amenities you need, such as AV systems, chairs, tables, and a sound system. You wouldn’t want to get there and realize you’re expected to wing it.

7.   Figure out the theme and format

The theme and the format will set the tone for the entire event and guide your decisions for everything from the venue to catering to entertainment.

Here are a few tips on how to choose them effectively:

  • Consider the purpose of the event: Is it a product launch? A team-building retreat? A celebration of a milestone or achievement? The theme should align with this purpose and reflect the values and mission of the company.
  • Brainstorm specific elements that can bring the event to life: This could include decor, activities, or even color schemes. For example, if the theme is “innovation,” you might incorporate futuristic elements like holographic displays and interactive technology.
  • Think of the tone and formality of the event: Is it a casual get-together or a black-tie affair? Will there be speeches or presentations, or is it more of a networking opportunity? These factors will influence the layout of the event space and the flow of activities.

Ultimately, the theme and format of a corporate event should serve to reinforce the company’s brand identity and strengthen relationships between attendees. By putting thought and creativity into these elements, you can organize an event that’s not only enjoyable but also impactful.

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8.   Spread out the word

Now that you have planned and organized a fantastic corporate event, it’s time to ensure that everyone knows about it. After all, there’s no point in throwing a bash if no one shows up.

So, how do you promote the event and create a buzz among your employees and stakeholders? The answer is simple – a strategic marketing plan!

  • Create a catchy name and a tagline that perfectly captures the essence of the event: Make it memorable and easy to remember, so it sticks in people’s minds. For example, if you’re hosting a team-building activity, you could call it “Building Bridges” with a tagline that reads “Together, we achieve greatness”. See how easy that was?
  • Leverage all the communication channels at your disposal: Send out creative email invites, use social media platforms to create a buzz, and put up posters in high-traffic areas around the office. You could even create a short video teaser highlighting the key features of the event and share it on your company’s website or intranet.
  • Incentivize attendance even further: Consider offering exciting door prizes or gift bags to event participants or highlighting special guest speakers or entertainment. These can go a long way in drumming up interest and excitement for your event.
  • Communicate the event’s benefits: Explain its advantages to employees and how it ties into broader company goals and objectives. This not only increases buy-in but also showcases the company’s commitment to investing in employee well-being, growth, and development.

9.   Evaluate the results

Evaluating whether a corporate event was a success involves so much more than a simple headcount or a few vague compliments about the catering. The task demands a rigorous and systematic approach that can be boiled down to the below three steps:

  • Consider the objectives of the event: Remember those goals you’ve set when just starting to plan the event? Now, you’ll need to evaluate whether they were met. This can be achieved through surveys, interviews, or good old-fashioned observation. Ask your attendees what they thought of the event and whether their expectations were met. Track engagement levels, social media activity, and email sign-ups to gauge audience interest and participation. Make note of any new partnerships, deals, or leads that resulted from the event.
  • Examine the financials: Did the event stay within budget? If not, was the extra expense worth it? Track the cost per attendee and compare it to the value of any new business generated. Consider the return on investment and the long-term benefits of the event. Was it a one-time expense or a valuable investment in future growth?
  • Measure the intangible benefits of the event: Did it improve employee morale and loyalty? Did it strengthen relationships with clients and partners? Did it generate positive media coverage and enhance your brand reputation? These are all important factors to consider even if your initial goal was to improve something else.
Work Type report, actiPLANS

Use actiPLANS to schedule your events and then analyze employee attendance with the help of informative reports.


Taking all of the above into consideration, planning a corporate event is a project that requires flexibility and commitment. And by following the steps outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to successfully organizing and hosting an amazing corporate event that both makes a lasting impression on attendees and produces many benefits for your business.

Don’t think of event planning as an impossible task – empower yourself with actiPLANS and actiTIME to make smart decisions while taking the chaos out of the process.

With the help of the former, you can easily create visual project and event schedules, while taking resource availability into account. And with the help of the latter, it’s convenient to track the progress of your entire event planning endeavor, as well as employee attendance and the time spent on events themselves.

So why wait? Start using actiPLANS now and rest assured that your next corporate event will be truly effective!

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