How we plan Prolificon (our annual company meet-up)
Even as a remote-first business, we know how important it is to create in-person connections and memories. Every year in November, we have a company-wide event called none other than, Prolificon. All Prolific employees, whether they’re based in the UK or internationally, come together for three fun-filled days! It can sometimes be the only time of year that colleagues meet their team in person.
Prolificon is a chance for the entire company to discuss our company mission and strategy, whilst building deep, meaningful connections with their colleagues.
There are many components that go into planning a 90-person event, but if we could pick out some of the biggest aspects we need to consider they would be…
Planning kicks off at least 9 months in advance by choosing the dates for the event to take place - you’d be surprised at how far in advance venues get booked up! You want to ensure that as many people as possible can attend so it’s best to get that in the calendar sooner rather than later.
Consider forming a group of employees who will help plan the entire event - each person with a specific role in the planning process. It should then be clear who is responsible for making specific decisions.
Once you have confirmed the budget for the event, create a budget tracker. Your budget tracker will become your best friend and it will keep the finance team happy as well!
You should start out by budgeting a cost for everything such as the venue, hotel, travel, food, etc. This will make it a lot easier to ensure you stay within budget once you start signing contracts and paying deposits. It’s wise to leave a spare pot of money for any last-minute emergencies.
As your employees will be spending most of their time at the event venue, you want to make sure that it’s somewhere spacious with enough break-out spaces for those who don’t like large crowds or noise. A venue with plenty of natural light is also ideal - don’t underrate the importance of a bright and airy space! It’s also important to think about accessibility and how easy it is to move around the venue.
Ask the venue to confirm what exactly is included in the hire cost, as the cost of audio-visual (projectors, TV screens, microphones, etc), tea, coffee, food, etc. can quickly add up.
Once you decide on a venue, try to find a hotel within walking distance of the venue (~10-minute walk). The hotel will need to accommodate all the rooms you need (in our case 70+ rooms) and it should be a place where people actually want to stay - nice rooms and a good vibe ✨. The hotel should also have a nice common area/lobby for those who aren’t staying the night.
💡 Hotels can be expensive but try not to scrimp too much on the costs. It’s important for your guests to have a good night’s sleep and a decent breakfast before the busy day ahead.
It’s essential to find out people’s dietary requirements beforehand as this will help you when deciding what food to have each day, as well as allowing for a varied menu. It’s also very important to be aware of those who have allergies and to cater to them.
Spend money on a decent variety of hot and cold fresh food, and make sure there’s plenty to go around. The days can be long and food is fuel, so remember to offer snacks!
💡 People Operations Tip - we store our employees’ dietary requirements on our HRIS platform which all employees complete during onboarding. That way, we have the info to hand for every event we book. Over 10% of Prolificos are vegan!
Thankfully, gone are the days when you would attend a conference and spend hours upon hours watching presentations. Nowadays, short presentations can be key in getting high-level information across but you also want to ensure you have a mixture of other activities.
We make sure to include:
As mentioned previously, Prolificon for some employees is the only time a year that they get to meet and spend time with their team. Therefore, we make sure that one night is dedicated solely to team bonding, and each team is given a budget to go and have some fun 🕺.
The other 2 nights are dedicated to company-wide bonding where we host chilled parties.
If you are thinking about planning a company-wide meet-up, we hope that this blog post can give you some ideas of where to start. And remember, even though you planned the event, you are allowed to relax and enjoy it!
Check out our careers page for any open roles and you might be able to join us at Prolificon in 2023!
Our amazing Customer Support team will be working really hard before and after Prolificon to answer any outstanding customer queries. They’ll also be on-call and contactable for emergencies. If you need urgent help, submit a request either to our Researcher Help Centre or Participant Help Centre. It’s just worth bearing in mind we might be a little slower to get back to you than usual.
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