Today’s topic stems from an experience at a corporate evening event I recently attended. I was one of the baffled attendants witnessing that it was not the keynote speaker, but an adorable baby girl catching everyone’s attention.
With a rising number of young professionals taking on the challenge of multitasking in order to balance their career and family life, event planners cannot turn a blind eye. Since announcing a corporate event as ‘adult only’ function might not be the best solution for the corporate world, event planners need to be prepared to support potential attendees with their childcare concerns.
There is no specific rule out there, and quite frankly, opinions on whether to allow the young ‘plus ones’ seem to be split. So, let us take a look at the motivations of parties involved, and a potential solution that could solve the dilemma.
Corporate Event Planners:
As an event planner, your foremost goal is your client’s best interest, and fulfilling the mission for the event at hand. Maximizing the number of attendees, as well as assuring that the event stays on message and distractions are avoided, are certainly among your top priorities. Children running around, crying, or being the unplanned center of attention, are most likely not parts of your winning strategy. Let alone the liability that might come with those little attendees.
Juggling a successful career with a fulfilling family life has many challenges, especially for a single parent. One of which certainly are corporate events hosted outside of regular business hours. Parents find it increasingly difficult to make a choice in such a circumstance. While some elect to stay home with their child, others might arrange for a babysitter, and a small number of parents might choose to simply bring their baby along to the corporate function. Truth be told, neither of these scenarios is ideal.
To the corporate host, an ‘absent’ attendee represents a lost opportunity. The event’s message was not communicated, discussions not had, expertise was not shared, and networks were not extended.
But there is also a lost opportunity in hosting a ‘pre-occupied’ attendee – for the host and the attendee alike. With their mind elsewhere, they might not be able to take in the full message, or make the most of the opportunities offered. Rushing off early to make it home before the sitter’s curfew certainly does no good for expanding anyone’s business network.
But what about those attendees who choose to bring their child along? Haven’t we all uttered ‘so adorable’ a hundred times in view of a baby? We sure have, but there is a right place and time for everything. The corporate event might not be it. Just imagine a situation in which the child gets injured, or does not behave appropriately.
One of the keys to your successful event: Professional Childcare
American organizations, even more so than their European counterparts, are doing an excellent job creating situations that entwine family with business life. Not only through annual corporate family picnics, but also with ‘bring your child to work’ days, or the corresponding ‘bring your parent to school’ day. Why not expand this family friendly notion?
I encourage corporate event organizers to follow into their fellow wedding planners’ footsteps: Make arranging for professional childcare part of your corporate event!
We know childcare is a must for social events, so why are we still skeptical of implementing this winning formula for corporate functions? Trust me, professional childcare in place for your corporate evening and weekend events will reward you handsomely. Not only will you reel in a whole new target group, and raise your number of attendee but you will be taking one task off corporate parents’ plates leaving them worry free. A win-win for all involved.
When arranging professional childcare for your conference or corporate event for the first time, be prepared to do some legwork. There are many providers looking for your business, but keep in mind that only the best is good enough for your attendees. Make sure to:
- Check references
- Perform background checks
- Assure that the event location is suitable for setting-up a separate enclosed childcare area
If your budget doesn’t allow for event childcare, it is acceptable to pass on the cost to the attending parents. Communicate the hourly fee per child, and market this opportunity to potential attendees. A majority will be happy to cover the fee, knowing their loved ones are close by and well taken care of.
More worry free, and focused attendees? – Childcare for corporate events is a new must in a progressive business environment, so be ahead of the competition and come on board!
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This post was also published at Social Tables