Virtual events: Employee engagement ideas (2023)

Virtual employee engagement events are becoming increasingly popular in the world of remote work, but it can be challenging to ensure everyone remains engaged and connected to the event. As time passes, this problem grows even bigger, and employees may not show up at all to your event.

I am convinced that the solution to these difficulties is not a better tool or a one-size-fits-all virtual game experience. Every company and culture requires a unique approach. In this article, I explore some ideas on how to create an engaging virtual experience for town hall meetings and other employee engagement virtual events.

Experienced MC

Having a professional and engaging host for the event can make a huge difference in creating a positive atmosphere. This can be someone from the company with experience in hosting virtual events, or an external professional MC who specializes in online events. It’s difficult to convey the same energy to attendees as if they were present in person, as two-thirds of the energy is lost in transmission. A good host will be able to keep the energy levels up and ensure that everyone is participating and staying engaged.

Webcam activation as part of the culture

A company culture where everyone activates their video feed and is visible during video calls is an invaluable asset. Having video enabled during meetings can foster better communication between colleagues, as it allows for more visual cues and engagement that may not be possible through audio alone.

Of course, for large companies and meetings, this can be quite a challenge. However, taking the time to remind participants to activate their video feed at the beginning of any virtual event or meeting can help to ensure that everyone is engaged and can benefit from the shared experience.

Mix information, entertainment, and peer-gratitude

If your virtual event does not have all three aspects of information, entertainment, and peer-gratitude, your employees will end up leaving the event or not show up at all in future.

In the in-person event world, you typically organize three different types of events: town hall meetings, social gatherings, and lunch+learn sessions. However, in the virtual world, people are used to shorter videos and want everything in one event. Combining all informational, entertainment and peer-gratitude aspects into one virtual event can make it enjoyable and informative for all attendees.

Encourage non-verbal interactions

Non-verbal interactions like smiling, nodding, and laughing can be just as important as verbal ones. To encourage engagement, have people activate their cameras, so everyone can see each other. This creates a more engaging atmosphere and allows people to connect. If your company culture is not ready for this, encourage the use of emoji reactions or the chat feature in the event platform.

Use interviews instead of presentations

Instead of relying solely on presentations to convey information, we prefer to learn from expert interviews as a more engaging approach. Interviewees, such as the CEO, a member of the management board, an employee, or an external expert, can provide up-to-date information, industry trends, and their expertise. This allows the audience to gain a more in-depth understanding of the topic and connect with the speaker. Furthermore, we encourage audience members to ask questions (either during the event or beforehand) to further engage with the experts and gain an even more profound insight into the topic.

Use polls and surveys

Using polls and surveys during a virtual employee engagement event can be a powerful way to get everyone to participate in the discussion. This could be done through a tool like Kahoot or Mentimeter, where employees can submit their answers and view the results in real-time. With this measure, you get people to think more deeply about the topics and create a more engaging atmosphere.

Ask employees to share personal insights

Before the event, ask one or two employees from your global workforce to share something local from their region, culture, or their personal experience. This is an effective way to build strong bonds between employees who may otherwise not have many opportunities to interact. It will also increase the volume of chat messages, and the employee who shares their experience will be celebrated in the chat.

This kind of engagement also shows how your company brings together a diverse workforce, but still allows everybody to be their true selves and express their unique perspectives. As a result, you encourage and recognize individual expression while also promoting team building.

Behind the team

It’s always a beneficial experience for employees when they can learn something new about their company. Allowing a team to briefly explain what their responsibilities are and what challenges they are facing, and how they overcome them, is a great idea to foster engagement in a virtual event.

To ensure the experience is enjoyable and can be understood by those who are not experts of that team’s field of work, it’s beneficial to collaborate with the team to prepare the pitch before the event. This will ensure that the event is productive, and that all participants can get the best out of the experience.

Learning from experts

We all love to learn from experts, and virtual events provide a perfect opportunity to do just that. Let an expert demonstrate a small, very specific fact they have just learned, is an entertaining and engaging experience for most participants. Not only is that, it also provides a great learning opportunity for those that want to deepen their knowledge.

This is again an opportunity for engagement: The attendees get the chance to pose questions and interact with the experts. It’s an invaluable experience that can help attendees further their understanding of the subject and can be very much fun.

You need an event engagement strategy

Making a successful virtual employee engagement event doesn’t have to be difficult. There are many creative ideas you can use, but it is important to switch things up and keep the events fresh. Doing the same thing over and over again, kills motivation to join and can make the virtual event stale and unenjoyable.

With the right strategy and a willingness to evolve, you can make your virtual employee engagement events more interactive and successful.