CRCLE company conference review

Posted by David Gould

Employee Appreciation Day 6th March – this year we decided to go all out. Our staff are the most important asset to our business, so wanted to celebrate their achievements from throughout the year and commemorate all the milestones the business has achieved.

Our internal teams brainstormed and formalised CRCLE – our first annual company conference. The brief was to design a celebratory event to gather all our people together, providing positive vibes, reinforcing what they organization has accomplished, whilst providing insights throughout the day to encourage staff to look forward to the new year’s vision and to get focussed and excited for what’s to come.

We used suppliers and relationships we’ve accumulated over the years, when working on our client’s corporate events, to build a stage, provide the refreshments and brand the event like our very own conference.

Conference kick off

The stage (quite literally) was set, the music was pumping, the branded posters were in position and the desk giveaways ready and waiting. We welcomed our employees like we would during any client conference. The music created energy and set the scene for the day to come.

Staff were welcomed with a refreshing drink from the smoothie bar to start the day right and encouraged to take a seat in front of the stage.

At 9.15am ‘Ready to Go’ by Republika permeated through the sound system and I took my place on stage, to wish everyone a ‘Happy Employee Appreciation Day’ and to share the expectations of the event. The conference theme was: TOGETHER TOWARDS TOMORROW. I explained how this strapline would be a constant vision for our new FY year outlook and approach, but it was the standout launch video that truly encapsulated it.

For some audience engagement and to break the ice, I encouraged everyone to use Sli.do, an app whereby a question can be posed, and the audience can respond. Their responses were added to the main screen for us all to see. I asked what they were looking forward most about the day and the answers….well, they were interesting to say the least! The resounding response was around the food, which was good as we had a lot on offer!

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Morning mindfulness

For the new year, wellbeing is one of our key focusses. We plan to introduce a series of new tools available to help our employee’s mental health and welfare. To kick this off, we welcomed a representative from the Coventry and Warwickshire Mind Charity, who we support as our charity of choice and fundraise for throughout the year. Fatima shared some exercises and coping mechanisms to tackle anxiety. To help us get into the right mindset for day, Fatima took us through a Mindfulness session, encouraging us to focus on the moment and be in the present.

Life and times at CR

CR was founded in 2002 and I’m proud that we have the three founding directors still playing an active role in the business, and seven employees serving 15+ years. For those few, they know where the organisation started and what it has grown to be. So, for those who haven’t been part of the 18-year journey, we provided a little insight for them.

Directors Sean, Juliet and Dan headed on stage to ‘You Look Good on the Dance Floor’ by the Arctic Monkeys – a nod to a tale to be told from the earlier years.

The session took on an interview style, which reminisced funny untold stories, experiences and business highlights. Employees followed the journey that started from a small office with a big vision, into the company it is today.

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2020 Vision

The keynote sessions were designed to inform staff what the year ahead has in store.

In my session, I shared the five key themes of CR’s future – innovation, people, sustainability and wellbeing, delivering ROI and growth. The 2020 company objectives were communicated and highlighted how these themes filtered through to these goals. I explained to employees how they can play a part in implementing and fulfilling these focuses.

Product and Proposition Director Juliet shared the planned roadmap to keeping our technology market-leading and new innovations to launch.

Whilst Global Sales Director Barry, explained our go-to-market strategy to feed into the revenue growth targets.

Knowledge building

Throughout the day we built a series of sharing sessions into the agenda. The topics varied from ones that could help provide knowledge which would help enhance staff expertise and skills, enabling them to boost services to clients. Other sessions included brainstorms and ideas on how to evolve our working environment.

Teamwork makes the dream work

I’m proud of the internal culture we have established at CR. The cliché of ‘work hard, play hard’ rings a bell, but having fun and developing peer relationships, builds a stronger foundation to deliver a better business result. We couldn’t let the day go by without having some organised fun. The first team building event was learning the haka. Described as “a ceremonial dance performed by a group with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.” And that’s exactly what we saw! Four groups of staff individually learnt the routine and shared their interpretations back to the group. Complete with pukana (bulging eyes), whetero (sticking out of the tongue) and waewae takahia (stomping feet and slapping the body with their hands). This war dance set our teams up to hit the battlefield, ready to show pride, strength and unity.

We love a pub quiz at CR so it was only apt that this was the second team exercise – a play on who wants to be a millionaire.

Awarding success

Throughout the year, we’ve been running an internal incentive for the sales team called Driving Performance. A Formula 1 theme, the idea is to be fuelled by speed and tenacity to gain pole position in each month’s race. Competing against each other, to win overall championship status. The top three winners of the battle were presented with their prizes and gained acclamation from their peers for their contributions and performance.

We also celebrated our Long Service Legends and presented them with their next milestone to add to their bespoke and personalised Lego Avatar, detailing their journey with CR.

Each quarter our employees nominate their peers for demonstrating and living our company values. Shared via our own recognition platform CR Heroes, individual and group nominations are submitted. At the end of the quarter, the whole company votes for their overall winners. It was my privilege to announce the winners on Employee Appreciation Day, highlighting their brilliant successes.

Refreshments

If you’ve been to our offices, you know our teams are fuelled by food evident by the baskets of snacks on each group of desks. The day didn’t disappoint for them. Starting off with a breakfast buffet, a kebab food cart for lunch, followed by a prosecco afternoon tea. The day concluded with us heading to a local restaurant for an appreciation evening of dinner and drinks. Employees joined us to toast a successful 2019 and a prosperous and exciting year ahead.

Closing remarks

I was under no illusion that with our Events team at the helm of organising our first annual conference it was going to be a total success – a 4,000 people conference is the norm for our team, so an internal event for 60 would be simple to accomplish but with the same deliverable impact.

CRCLE has brought our team together, to make a stronger, focused and engaged workforce.  They share the business passion to positively move forward and we’re all excited for the year ahead.

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David joined CR Worldwide as CEO in 2014. Leading a team of performance improvement experts, building and managing engagement programs, he is responsible for developing and growing the business to support new and existing clients.