Kick-off events

All the large corporations do it and public organisations swear by it: organising kick-offs at the start of the year. We have noticed that the event peak is gradually shifting from December to January. No more New Year’s Eve parties, but a fresh start to the new year, the perfect opportunity to set the course for the coming year and include people in the company’s strategy, targets and budgets. But what is the secret of a successful kick-off? Let’s explore the Kick factor.


“January was all about kick-offs for us. We organised them for Korn Ferry, RDW, and KPN. The traditional New Year's Eve celebration, mainly intended to thank people and raise a glass together, seems to be making way for a united start.” Myrthe Bloeming, event manager at Obsession, completely understands. “A kick-off is not only perfect for motivating a team, for getting everyone on the same page, presenting results and handing out awards. At the start of the year, people have renewed energy and motivation, so the timing is perfect.” Let's explore the kick-factor.

New year kick off event

Kick factor 1: Make your strategy more tangible

“Strategy is also a much less abstract concept nowadays”, continues Myrthe. “Management boards at companies and organisations have realised that it is imperative to involve everyone in this process. You can only achieve your goals when you work together! It is no longer a question of deciding the course of the business from the top down, but inviting people to join in and think along. It is crucial that the strategy is transparent and easy to understand, that managers and employees on different levels are aware of how they can contribute to achieving the goals set.”

Kick factor 2: Combine content and fun

“A kick-off is all about combining content and fun. It is important that the content is concise and catchy. That is why, at KPN, we reversed the order of the strategic New Year's meeting. This is because in previous years, it turned out that the order of presentation first and then partying the night away did not produce the desired energy and involvement. People experienced the content-related part as tiresome and often went home early. So it was time to completely change course. And with great success. The unexpected reversal of the programme really got things going and all participants got involved.”

Kick factor 3: Connect the internal with the external

“Kick-offs tend to focus on internal matters, so it is important to have good internal speakers”, Myrthe points out. “For example, an external moderator can be brought in to ask the tougher questions. For instance, we give clients and stakeholders a platform by recording a video related to a current issue. At RDW, each section of the programme started with a video of an interview and then the conversation continued on stage.” RDW was thrilled: employees could really experience mobility-related developments that affect their current and future work. Everyone went home feeling inspired and that they were working towards the same goals.