Like it or not, company event planning is a collaborative pursuit. Even outside the corporate world, event management professionals need to maintain relationships with multiple vendors, suppliers, and venues while also communicating with their clients. Corporate event planners, meanwhile, must coordinate with numerous people throughout an organization.
It's in your best interest to engage with them as collaborators rather than simply stakeholders. We'll explain how and why.
What is Cross-Team Collaboration in Event Management?
Also known as cross-functional collaboration, cross-team collaboration involves bringing together a collection of individuals or groups from different departments or backgrounds.
For example, let's say you're trying to develop an app for an upcoming event. To do so, you might have designers and developers work with both your marketing and event management departments in order to create something usable by guests.
Encouraging Collaboration When Planning a Company Event
Being willing to treat your event as a collaborative venture rather than a jealously guarded brainchild is only the first step. You also need to engage with your stakeholders and ensure they're just as invested as you are. There are a few things you can do in that regard:
First, think about why each stakeholder wants to run this event. What do they gain from it, and what is their overall goal? Use that knowledge to convince them of the value of working together and offering their input.
On that note, you should also endeavor to understand what each person brings to the table in terms of both knowledge and resources. Event management is your area of expertise, but you might be a bit less knowledgeable about IT, for instance. Make sure you allocate tasks based on the specialties of each collaborator.
You'll also want to divide those tasks as evenly as possible. Project management software can help in this regard, not only keeping everyone apprised of critical milestones and deadlines but also helping them stay on top of their own responsibilities. Finally, you'll want to treat your cross-functional event management team as its own entity.
That means creating documentation that covers the following:
- Departmental workflows.
- Event and project timelines.
- Standard operating procedure.
- Task dependencies and responsibilities.
- Document management processes, including storage and access.
- Communication channels.
- Goals, objectives, and milestones.
Resources are also crucial. Find out what each group on your event team needs in order to get their job done, and make sure you deliver it to them as soon as possible. This could mean different things for different people – such as giving marketing the opportunity to explore and brainstorm promotions or providing developers with a sandboxed environment to test and compile code.
Finally, consider participating in a few team-building exercises and activities to improve cooperation and cohesion. Although these are events in their own right, they can also prove immensely helpful when it comes to encouraging a more collaborative approach to planning.
Potential team-building events include:
- Workshops to help participants improve their communication, conflict resolution, and cooperative problem-solving skills. Other workshop possibilities include professional development seminars or crafts such as pottery making.
- Lunch and learn sessions to provide people with an informal knowledge-sharing environment where they can develop both professionally and personally while also getting to know one another.
- Casual competitions such as game tournaments and trivia contests. These can not only improve workplace communication and engagement but also open an organization's eyes to hidden skills among their employees. Also, consider hosting an inter-office sporting event or two, but be wary of mandating participation.
- Community service gatherings which bring everyone together in support of a charitable cause.
- Departmental mixers to bring people from different departments together, breaking down communication silos in the process. These can take many forms, from simple luncheons to full-on parties.
- Company retreats, which help people refresh and recharge while engaging with one another in a completely novel setting.
- Virtual team-building exercises such as escape rooms, gaming sessions, collaborative projects, or online quizzes.
- Themed holiday parties or celebrations which provide employees with an entertaining and relaxing setting in which they can learn more about one another.
As an addendum to the above, you'll want to choose a single communication method, such as Slack. This ensures that the communication silos you broke down through your team-building efforts stay down. It also makes it far easier to keep track of what everyone's doing.
The Benefits of Cross-Team Collaboration
Varied Perspectives and Skills
We've mentioned before that events have undergone a shift from outsourcing to reliance on in-house expertise. As a result, events are smaller and more regionally or locally targeted. This means that administrative professionals must not only host more events but also more diverse events.
The good news is that it also means that event managers now work with a wide range of different stakeholders both within their own organization and at partnered companies. Each of these individuals brings with them their own unique insights and expertise, which can both enrich your events and improve the planning process.
What's more, bringing in more diverse perspectives also has a net positive effect on creativity. People usually tend to come up with better ideas when they're presented with opinions and backgrounds with which they're unfamiliar. To put it another way, diversity drives innovation – but more on that in a moment.
Segregation of Duties
There was a time when event management professionals could shoulder everything on their own. Those days are now largely behind us. Modern events tend to be multidisciplinary undertakings with a great deal of behind-the-scenes work required to make them happen.
Many of these tasks can be automated through the right event management platform. Bringing more people onto your team, meanwhile, allows you to delegate what you don't automate. This, in turn, dramatically reduces the pressure facing both leadership and event managers.
Engagement and Innovation
By bringing together multiple cross-functional groups to help plan and run your company events, you create an environment that encourages both creativity and innovation. An environment in which most people tend to thrive, in other words. In addition to generating a multitude of clever, innovative event ideas and activities, this kind of environment also encourages people to become considerably more invested in seeing an event succeed – after all, they've now put their own ideas forward.
Connecting All the Pieces
As we already mentioned, modern events require a multi-disciplinary approach that brings together people from various departments and teams. If these teams all work in isolation from one another, you might still end up with a functional and moderately successful event. However, there's also the very real chance that your event ends up feeling like a messy, disjointed collection of mismatched pieces.
Encourage those teams to collaborate with one another, however, and the end result of their work feels considerably more cohesive and coherent. Closer collaboration also tends to result in a more streamlined planning process. Rather than having to meet and coordinate on the various working parts of your event, people actively develop and fit them together as part of one uninterrupted workflow.
Co-Collaborate Planning Your Events With Purple
In today's business landscape, co-planning your corporate events is simply good business sense. It allows you to leverage resources and skill sets that would otherwise be completely out of reach. It also allows you to unlock potential new ideas for both current and future events, all while simultaneously improving the efficiency and reducing the cost of your planning process.
To enable this collaborative approach, it's not enough to just have the right processes in place. You also need the right people – and the right platform. Here's where Purple comes in. Our advanced event planning solution not only makes it easier than ever to plan and run a winning event, but it also is the only platform of its kind that allows you to invite team members for co-planning.
In other words, it not only makes event management simpler, but it does so while actively supporting deeper collaboration and better communication. You don't need to simply take our word for it, though. Let us show you firsthand.