Starting the New Year With a BANG!  

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Why Your Organization Needs an Annual Kickoff 

We know the celebration season has come to a close—and that everyone is struggling with the repercussions of over indulging during the holidays—but having one last shebang could be the antidote to post-holiday stress. While the landscape of this coming year may look exciting and full of opportunity, it might also look like an endless to-do list, especially if there are hefty goals and transformations ahead. Regardless of what your company will face this year, a kickoff party is the perfect way to inspire your team toward a unified purpose. Below are some employee appreciation ideas to help you throw a purposeful annual kickoff.  


1. Host Offsite  

Spaces can really influence mood and focus. In the office, people are thinking about getting to business. At home, people are thinking about sweatpants. For your annual kickoff, gather people in an environment where they can reflect on the past and create an agenda for the future. Depending on your team, this might be a local eatery, coffee shop or brew pub.  


2. Celebrate Last Year’s Wins 

Once you’ve nailed down a proper location, it’s time to create a party plan. Make sure you include last year’s highlights in your agenda. Allow space for team members to share experiences and reflect on how these wins will carry lasting results. Recognize everyone in the chain, not just management. This an opportunity to create a positive, open dialogue about how the past can shape the future.  


3. Offer Awards 

Before the event, create an anonymous appreciation bucket and have each of your employees recognize another colleague’s efforts. From this, find creative ways to award people who rocked last year. You may decide to purchase trophies, gift baskets or local gift cards. Whatever you decide, make sure the employees on the ground floor are brought up to light.  


 4. Offer Teachable Moments  

None of us are perfect, and chances are last year saw a few obstacles and missteps. At your annual kickoff party, take a moment to carefully unpack some of these, and explore alternative ideas, decisions and solutions that would have led to better outcomes. We urge leaders to pick one big mistake they made to discuss and laugh about. Remember that teams rise and fall together, and sometimes we learn more from a failure and struggle than we do from closing a major deal.  


5. Launch a 1st Quarter Contest  

Who doesn’t like a little incentive? (Plus, we all overspend during the holidays…) With a first-quarter contest, you can inspire your team to set and achieve goals with a little cash incentive. This is a great way to go after new initiatives while investing in your company’s culture. After all, success is a huge motivator, and most people are happier when they are successful.  


6. Relax, Have Fun!

People do their best work when they feel refreshed. Your annual kickoff is a time to let go of the past, sit down with your fellow coworkers and blow off some steam. This new year may promise some major changes, and it helps to lay a strong foundation going in. If you’re interested in finding other employee appreciation ideas, check out: 



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