This holiday season, we wanted to ensure our employees could experience a workplace holiday party, despite not being able to gather in person due to Covid-19. The holiday “Party Planning Committee” (a.k.a. The Committee) really outdid themselves while making sure our employees were celebrated and recognized for their hard work. Collectively, the team harnessed their ho-ho-holiday spirit and provided what ended up being one of the best office holiday party experiences ever!
No, really, here is what employees had to say:
“I liked the competitions! And I liked the lunches. We should do those periodically every month.”
“The prizes were incredible.”
The week-long (online) festivities, which the team dubbed “Maveristmas”, was such a huge success that our employees are calling for a repeat for years to come! Ready to hear about what we did to “wow” our employees? Keep reading!
This article provides highlights from the week-long festivities. If you’re feeling froggy, have some technical skills, and want to take a crack at it…The Committee has published their technical “how-to” articles on the Maveris Labs blog, so you can learn how to host your own virtual party.
Okay, so what is Maveristmas? If you guessed a mashup of Maveris and Christmas, you are correct! But it was so much more. The week of festivities kicked-off with a simple unexpected email to employees:
“This year, in lieu of an in-person party (due to COVID-19) we are planning an entire week of holiday fun with big prize giveaways to celebrate all the hard work and dedication you’ve put into making Maveris a great place to work! There are nine big prizes, one grand prize, and participation prizes! Everyone who participates will win something, and some will win BIG!”
“Ooooh, what does this mean?” – said everyone reading the email with a smile on their face.
Little did we know, The Committee had created a series of online activities for everyone at Maveris to be able to participate in while working from home (and dispersed across the country). The festivities included daily competitions where employees could submit entries to be voted on by peers to earn points called “Magical Maveris Medallions” (MMM).
Employees could even check their MMM balance to see where they, and everyone else, stood in the competition. The basic idea was that after each challenge, those with the most votes would place in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place and be awarded a specific number of MMM’s according to winning position.
The number of MMM’s each person had symbolized the number of entries for a chance to win prizes!
The Grand Prize included a generous assortment of prizes and a (pretty awesome) Maveristmas tree ornament which was hand-carved by our CEO! (Pictured above).
But the best part was, employees could include their families in all the fun!
Ground Rules for the challenges: Each day a new challenge was released on Slack in a specially created Slack channel named “Maveristmas_Announcements” via a Google Form. The next day participants got another Google Form to vote for the winners from the prior day. Voters could not vote for themselves! (The Committee told us they could see if people voted for themselves. This could have just been a scare tactic though.)
THE DAILY CHALLENGES
COMPETITION ONE (MONDAY) – MAVERISTMAS CAPTION CONTEST
For the first competition, employees provided their best description of what is occurring in the image and submitted their response using a customized Google Form.
There were a total of four winners for best caption. (1st -4th place)
(Note: The three individuals in the photo are our very own Maveris Senior Leadership Team who clearly go to great depths to see their employees are recognized and appreciated!)
Also held on day one, was a bonus opportunity. The Committee hosted a virtual lunch hour, and anyone who attended received bonus MMMs!
COMPETITION TWO (TUESDAY) – DRAWING/PHOTO EDITING
This is where employees got creative! They were to provide their best submission of a drawing or photoshopped version of a Maveris team, but as elves. (Bonus points for creating the most unique elf environment.) Participants then used a Drawing/Photo Editing Contest form (Google Form) to provide their entry.
(Categories for Drawing/Photo Editing = Most Creative 1st- 3rd place, Most Hilarious 1st – 3rd place, and Most Original 1st – 3rd place)
COMPETITION THREE (WEDNESDAY) – MAVERISTMAS BUILD-IT CHALLENGE
In each of the competitions, it was highly encouraged to include family and friends in the process. For this challenge, many employees included their children to help them build! Employees could use whatever they had handy to build their version of a “Maveristmas”. Some used Legos, others had Play-doh, or popsicle sticks, etc. The designs were so creative. After building their masterpiece, participants were to submit a photo of it, so others could vote on the creations!
(Categories for Build-it = Most Creative 1st – 3rd, Most Hilarious 1st – 3rd, Most Original 1st – 3rd)
Day three also had another bonus MMM’s opportunity! Everyone was encouraged to bring their favorite joke! (Safe for work, of course.)
COMPETITION FOUR (THURSDAY) – MAVERISTMAS KARAOKE
Record a video of you lip-singing to your favorite Christmas song! A snapshot of one of the favorite submissions can be seen below.
Then, fill out the form so people can guess your Two Truths & Lie.
Categories for Karaoke = Most Creative 1st – 3rd, Most Hilarious 1st – 3rd, Most Original 1st – 3rd
COMPETITION FIVE (FRIDAY) – TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE
This is exactly what you think it is. Participants were instructed to fill out a form with their two truth statements, and one lie statement, and then they had to guess for each person which statement was the lie.
Categories for Two Truths & a Lie = Most Correct Answers 1st – 3rd, Best Liar 1st – 3rd
At the end of the week, when all challenges were over, and the Merry Magical Maveristmas Medallions were tallied, Santa came to our virtual town. The team incorporated a prize ranking form so employees could rank the prizes on the list from most desired to least, and prizes were awarded accordingly. Then, a raffle-like system was created to pull winners. Each MMM represented a “raffle ticket”. Prizes were not given to those with the most MMMs, they just had the best chances to win from the random drawing.
The event was a hit with the employees. Engagement was amazing. Participation was better than expected. The virtual lunch hours were a great way to bond as a team and get to know each other, and everyone stated they wanted to continue hosting recurring lunch meetings periodically.
For the final act, The Committee developed an anonymous feedback survey to get responses about the festivities. It is safe to say, next year (2021) when (if) we can all meet in person, the virtual Maveristmas festivity will be a must. It was a fun and engaging experiment, and we would recommend it to anyone looking for new and creative ways to engage their employees.