Colorful Festival at The Midway in San Francisco, CA
photographer: New Revolution Media | production: Bash Creative | lighting & av: The Lux Productions | venue: The Midway
The Best of | Corporate Events

Corporate Party Ideas to Cultivate Connections

Colorful Festival at The Midway in San Francisco, CA

The best corporate party ideas lead to increased engagement and collaboration. PartySlate reached out to Visional, Patrick J Clayton Productions, and TYGER | Event Design + Production to learn how companies can foster collaboration through curated corporate events. The team at Visional tells us, “There’s a keyword in there — curated.” 

As Kyle and Tiffany Means, Principal + Founder and Creative Development Manager from the event agency Visional, tell us, “A next level event can mean the difference between the status quo and exponential growth, collaboration, and change — so if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” 

A corporate party is so much more than just a gathering. Patrick Clayton, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Patrick J Clayton Productions, shares, “You have to think about the overall goal or purpose of the event. Once you have the big things, like theme and color, you can work backwards to create moments that take guests through an experience that builds on those goals. It may be educational, or purely fun — but it should relate to the event.”

Ty Kuppig, Founder and Creative Director of TYGER | Event Design + Production, shares, “While the backgrounds of our corporate clients may vary greatly, our approach is consistent. We create events which highlight each company’s brand identity and amplify their message through experiential engagement.”

Keep reading to discover some of our favorite corporate event ideas that level up guest engagement. Whether you’re looking to host a company holiday party or corporate summit, you’ll find the best ways to forge relationships — and celebrate in style.

Go Behind the Scenes to See a Space Transformed Into a Stunning Corporate Event

video courtesy of: TYGER | Event Design + Production

1. Add a Wow-Worthy Entranceway

Insight Global National Conference at Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas, Texas
photo courtesy of & event agency: Visional See More
Winter Wonderland Corporate Holiday Party in Dallas, Texas
photographer: Scott Clark Photo | Jennifer Zabinski Events See More

Make sure that your attendees feel like they’re stepping into a new and inspired space with a designated entranceway. Incorporate your logo or brand colors into your design, or feature a stunning focal point that doubles as a swag or check-in station.

Clayton of Patrick J Clayton Productions reminds us, “Everyone is taking pictures with their phones now — so you want to give them something great to capture!”

Pro Tip: Station a corporate photographer at the end of your entrance to capture the arrival of each guest. Make sure to suggest a hashtag to encourage social sharing of photos.

2. Go with a Party Theme

CORPORATE PARTY AT SHERATON GRAND CHICAGO
photo courtesy of & design: KEHOE DESIGNS See More
Candyland Themed Hospitality Suite
photographer: Show Ready Photo | Revelry Event Designers | The Westin St. Francis See More

Organize your corporate event around a corporate party theme. Themes are a cohesive way to tie disparate elements of your event together — while delighting guests. Make sure that everything from the design and floral to the catering and entertainment reflect your chosen theme for a seamless and photo-worthy event. 

Pro Tip: Need help selecting a theme? Use PartySlate’s The Best Party Themes [Resource & Guide] to discover more unique themes that guests will love. 

3. Reflect Your Brand With Elevated Décor

Fall Inspired Ocean Spray Event at New York City’s Rockefeller Center
photographer: Will Star Photography | TYGER | Event Design + Production See More
Bright Branded Kiehl's Event
photographer: Union West | David Stark Design and Production See More

Décor as a corporate party idea? Hear us out. Décor sets the scene for your event. Clayton of Patrick J Clayton Productions shares, “Whether simple or intricate, any corporate event is made less boring by design and décor: from big moments of color, to creative use of the logo (think: making it out of flowers), and all the table details in between.” 

Work with your corporate design and floral team to finalize the look and style of your celebration. “Even taking one small pattern from the logo and multiplying it hundreds of times in a solid color,” Clayton tells us, “makes a huge impact and is still branded in a subtle way.”

Kuppig of TYGER | Event Design + Production also reminds us that the look of an event goes far beyond decorations. “We seek to connect guests with our clients’ brands in a more emotional way through experiences that engage the senses,” he says. “Environmental concepting, lighting design, food and beverage programming, audio curation and even scent manipulation are key techniques we utilize to create experiences that will resonate with guests and define deeper brand allegiances.”

Pro Tip: Head to the PartySlate Corporate Idea Gallery for some of our favorite corporate décor inspiration.

4. Engage Guests With Interactive Activities

Inspiring PartySlate Corporate Summit in Chicago
photographer: Andrew Weeks Photography | Room 1520 | Flowers for Dreams See More
VIP Event with Sports Legends at Dave & Busters
photographer: Tori Soper Photography See More

Attendees often learn by doing. The same can be said for forging connections. Interactive activities bring people together. It’s a great way for newer or introverted guests to form bonds and allow long-time friends or coworkers to maintain strong relationships. It’s also a way to engage consumers with your brand by creating an experience that results in fun memories for attendees.

Our favorite corporate party ideas double as community outreach. Choose activities that result in a meaningful donation or volunteer opportunity. We love how the team at PartySlate partnered with Flowers for Dreams to make impactful floral centerpiece donations to Ronald McDonald House.

Pro Tip: Consider breaking up lectures or meetings with a fun activity that gets guests out of their seats. Make sure the activity involves some amount of friendly competition to increase engagement.

5. Save Time for Team Building

"Winter Camp": All Company 2022 Kickoff Meeting
photographer: Andy Milne Photography | Ladidadi Events & Incentives
"Winter Camp": All Company 2022 Kickoff Meeting
See More

If you’re hosting an employee event, consider team-building activities. Employees that know how to collaborate and problem solve are more likely to achieve your company’s goals. Prioritize a session for team building with a fun, immersive activity that relies on cooperation and communication.

Pro Tip: Keep safety in mind at all times, and enlist the help of a skilled professional to lead any team building activities that involve any physical participation. Make sure to accommodate all employees, and consider offering more than one type of activity for your team.

6. Utilize Lounge Areas to Spark Conversations

Desert Chic Celebration at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
photo courtesy of & venue: Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino See More
QVC Beauty Bash Trade Show at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, PA
photo courtesy of & planning & design: Patrick J Clayton Productions See More
Metropolitan West Launch at Metropolitan West in New York
photo courtesy of & rentals: Taylor Creative Inc. See More

Increase the likelihood of meaningful conversations, productive brainstorms, and stronger relationships with curated lounge areas. Guests will gravitate to beautifully-designed lounge areas that integrate comfort with style. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and select seating that ranges from beach canopies to intimate garden tables. 

Pro Tip: Incorporate your logo onto chic throw pillows for a subtle nod to your brand. It’s a simple yet effective corporate party idea. You can also choose fabrics that reflect your company’s brand colors. 

7. Up the Energy With Lively Entertainment

PartySlate's Celebration of New Beginnings Brings Top Influencers & Industry Leaders Back Together in New York
photographer: Afrik Armando | The Glasshouse | Troy Curtis Entertainment See More
Glam Fundraising Gala
photographer: Geoff Chesman Visuals | Magnolia Bluebird design & events | The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra See More
Dark Christmas at SPiN Chicago
photographer: SPiN, Chicago | The Actors Gymnasium See More

For an epic corporate event — think anniversary party, holiday party, or corporate summitdazzle guests with a riveting entertainment act. Get guests on the dance floor (another branding opportunity) with a live band. For Instagram-worthy entertainment, consider a Cirque du Soleil-style performance.

Pro Tip: Make sure to do your research and find an entertainment company with experience performing at corporate events. Use PartySlate’s curated directory to find the best corporate entertainment companies. Click into their PartySlate profile to see videos from real events, important FAQs, and more.

8. Inspire Guests With Curated Signage

Trendy Corporate Event at AV Irvine in Irvine, California
photographer: Villa Visuals | 24 Carrots Catering and Events See More
PartySlate Cocktail Party for Influencers & Event Luminaries at TAO Chicago
photographer: Colin Lyons Wedding Photography | TAO Chicago | HH Design/Hannah Handmade See More

A corporate event is the perfect opportunity to inspire your team , consumers, and stakeholders — and to remind them of your company’s values. Reinforce positive messaging with stunning signage that doubles as a unique photo op. Inspired messaging deserves to pop, so make sure to work with your design team to curate the perfect signage.

Pro Tip: Position signage at the entrance of your event or behind any staging so it can be photographed during key moments of the celebration.

9. Include Plenty of Photo Ops

Down the Rabbit Hole
photographer: Filip Wolak | Twenty Three Layers (23 Layers) See More
Colorful Festival at The Midway in San Francisco, CA
photographer: New Revolution Media | The Lux Productions | The Midway See More
Enchanted Evening Media Event
Luke Polihrom Photography | B Floral Event Design and Production See More

More and more consumers discover brands through social media. Make sure your guests have every reason to post about your corporate event with an epic photo op. Increase the likelihood of engagement with a virtual photo booth that allows for instant social sharing and posting.

Pro Tip: Use PartySlate to find a photo booth for your corporate event. Make sure to strategically position your photo booth to increase engagement and participation.

10. Use Catering as an Excuse to Mingle

Fresh and Wonderful Corporate Event at Saks in Scottsdale, Arizona
photo courtesy of & caterer: Benedict’s Catering See More
Luxe at Blanc in Denver, Colorado
photographer: Frances Photography | Catering by Design See More
PartySlate 7 Year Anniversary Party at W Hollywood
photographer: John & Joseph Photography | W Hollywood | This Messy Table LA See More

While we always love a seated dinner party, passed bites and grazing tables are one of our favorite corporate party ideas. They encourage guests to move about and mingle. They also allow for a more flexible event schedule. This way, you can keep your guests satiated and still have time to feature immersive activities, keynote speakers, and engaging entertainment acts.

Pro Tip: Find the best corporate catering ideas on PartySlate. Make sure to “heart” your favorite photos and save them to an Idea Slate. You can then share this idea slate with your corporate caterer.

11. Turn Cuisine Into a Conversation Starter

Slack 6th Anniversary
photographer: Scott Clark Photo | Twenty Three Layers (23 Layers) | Creative Edge Parties
Slack 6th Anniversary
See More
"Museum of Party" Themed Anniversary Celebration at Ice Palace Film Studio in Miami, FL
photographer: Robert Hacman Photography | Joy Wallace Catering See More

Great food is like great art: It gets people talking. Think beyond your tastebuds and embrace catering that engages all five senses. Creative catering can even become a fun immersive activity where guests fish for their dinner (yes, literally).

Pro Tip: Work with a premier caterer that knows how to bring food to the forefront of the celebration. You can find some of our favorite corporate caterers in our curated vendor directory.

12. Keep the Coffee Flowing

Graphic Black, White and Red Conference
photographer: Erika Dufour | Revel Global Events | Limelight Catering See More
Cafe Themed Hospitality Suite
photographer: Show Ready Photo | Blueprint Studios See More

Keep your guests energized with a constant gourmet coffee supply. Go the extra mile and turn coffee time into an immersive experience with an onsite selfie coffee printer. You can also choose to feature your brand logo, instead.

Pro Tip: Make sure to offer decaf items or herbal tea alternatives for team members who prefer to avoid caffeine. 

13. Thanks Guests With Thoughtful Party Favors

Sophisticated Corporate Event at The Hamlin Mansion in San Francisco, CA
photographer: Misti Layne | Green Petal Designs | Fantasy Sound Event Services See More
Hallmark x Wyndham Holiday Collaboration in New York, Colorado and Tennessee
photo courtesy of & design: Patrick J Clayton Productions See More

Show your team how much you appreciate their hard work (or consumers how much you value them) with thoughtful party favors. Party favors make a great addition to any table setting. Additionally, they are one more opportunity for an engaging activity. Host a craft station where guests can create their own take-home gift.

Pro Tip: Consider personalizing party favors or attaching a hand-written card. Your team will feel extra appreciated and valued. 

14. Bring on the Company Swag and Branded Treats

BRANDED POPSICLES AT KLAVIYO CORPORATE EVENT AT NIKKI BEACH IN MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA | PARTYSLATE
photo courtesy of & event agency: Rose Gold Collective See More
Creative Corporate Event in Artistic Space at Superblue in Miami, Florida With Branded Macaroons | PartySlate
photo courtesy of & venue: Superblue | Sweet Guilt See More
Inspiring PartySlate Corporate Summit in Chicago
photographer: Andrew Weeks Photography | Room 1520 See More

Think of swag as a marketing investment. Guests are likely to use a branded tote or coffee tumbler daily — promoting your brand outside of the office. Even branded treats are likely to find their way onto Instagram or TikTok. Before you know it, your brand could go viral.

Pro Tip: Work branded swag into your corporate event activities. For example, PartySlate gifted their employees branded journals at their latest summit. During the event, team members were asked to reflect on their journey with the company and write down their thoughts.

15. Include a Virtual Component

The Power of Us - LIVE!
photo courtesy of & event agency: Visional See More

While corporate events are back in full swing, hybrid options are here to stay. The team at Visional summarized an important lesson from the pandemic. “We had to learn how to do virtual events really well, really fast, in an attempt to replicate the feeling of being at a real-life event. Nowadays, the virtual demand is much smaller, but the good parts of what we learned are going to be around for a long time.”

So if events are back, why do we need to pursue a virtual option? Visional explains, “Even if you can get most of your attendees in the room, there are always going to be folks that would benefit from participating virtually, or watching the event later in a broadcast format that showcases both the camera recording and the content together. Another great aspect of this is that keynote speakers and presenters can simply dial in remotely, saving time, money, and productivity. We really are living in the most exciting time that I’ve seen in my 20 years in the event industry, and every day we learn new ways to tie these technologies together.”

However, companies need to keep the following in mind: “One recommendation I give clients is to give the remote attendees an ‘overlapping experience’ with the IRL attendees,” Visional says. “Zoom fatigue is real, and many times a corporate event can go three or four days, so it’s important to think about what parts of the event will be most impactful for the remote folks, and limit it to just that. It’s also good practice to send something special to the remote attendees so they have a tangible takeaway from the event.” 

Pro Tip: As Visional suggests, keep remote participants engaged by sending them a thoughtful party favor or branded swag from the event in advance of the celebration.

People Also Ask…

How can corporate events increase employee engagement?

“Employee engagement is a direct result of a company’s culture, and a good event should be a celebration of that culture, and a chance to be immersed in it,” the team at Visional tells us. “You still need to live that culture the rest of the year, but events can provide meaningful landmarks that employees look back on in the hard moments, that keep them in the fight, that push them to be more effective teammates.”

At PartySlate, we know that inspiring events inspire people. Visional agrees “We may be biased, but we believe strongly in the power of events,” the team says. “They are an investment in the depth of the relationship between company and employee, and a good one can reap huge benefits.”

Do I need to hire a full-vendor team for my corporate event?

“Our experience has shown that you can tip the scales towards success by partnering with an event professional that will take the time to understand the company’s goals for the event, dig deeper into the underlying aspirations supporting those goals, and then provide curated solutions that provide actual impact,” the team at Visional tells us. “Good event partners can provide an outside perspective that may not be obvious to an event planner on the inside, and that partnership can be long lasting and meaningful.”

Kuppig of TYGER | Event Design + Production agrees. “There is a specialized skill to producing a well-crafted, seamlessly-executed event (some might even call it an art), and doing so requires a seasoned event planner/producer. From design to budgeting, logistics to vendor coordination, planning an event is an intricate dance with complicated choreography that requires rigorous organization and attention to detail. By engaging a professional to manage the process, companies are strengthening their team by adding an expert in the field who knows the hurdles and nuances involved in creating a successful event.” 

We always recommend starting with a corporate event planner or event agency. Not only will a planner/agency be able to connect you with their own trusted network of vendors, but their varied experience will bring new creativity to your event. As Kuppig says, “When speaking with prospective corporate clients, I also like to emphasize that because we work in all three sectors of special events —corporate, non-profit, and social — we have a finger on the pulse of the latest trends and patterns in each area, giving us a unique perspective and an ability to push the boundaries to create truly unique corporate events.”

So where can you find the best corporate vendors in the industry? Head to PartySlate’s curated corporate vendor directory to find everything from event planners and photographers to designers and caterers. You can also reach out to our expert vendors below:

Visional logo | PartySlate

​​Kyle & Tiffany Means
Atlanta, GA
Visional