Now you’re getting warmer! Making the day for seven hundred staff
Vattenfall Wärme Berlin – which generates heating energy for Berlin – is a key driver of the city’s economy and a long-established partner of its municipal government. Every two years, the Wärme Berlin administrative division invites the firm’s office and field staff to join them for a huge two-day employee get-together. As in previous years, the company entrusted the inspiranten team with planning and executing the event. The main aims were to communicate Vattenfall Wärme Berlin’s future corporate strategy, to organize an information-sharing dialogue with the new CEO, and to give staff a comprehensive overview of the latest projects, initiatives and plans. The company specifically asked us to take staff preferences into account, as much as possible, when designing the conference content. They had one final request: we should also somehow include the nearby thermal power station in the two days of events. No less than 350 people were expected to attend on each day.
During online registration, staff could choose individual events, following their own interests and thus shaping their personal experience of the day. The inspiranten team developed a flexible system which took account of two locations and the necessary transfers. This meant every guest could design a unique schedule, creating a specific agenda for their own interests and concerns.
Dr Tanja Wielgoß, the new CEO, kicked off the event in person, introducing herself to staff. This was followed by a session for all attendees where senior management outlined key themes and future challenges. Staff used their smartphones to put questions to the leadership team and to vote on specific points.
After a coffee break, the bespoke part of the programme got under way. Participants divided into two groups. The first set off on a scavenger hunt, with instructions delivered by tablet, while everyone else got down to individual activities. Anyone with a particular interest in technology could go aboard the Solon – a solar-powered, emissions-free catamaran – to take the journey upriver to Heizkraftwerk Mitte, one of Vattenfall Wärme Berlin’s thermal power stations. Here, they could take a guided tour, or visit the plant’s community garden to learn how its bees produce honey. Those keen on company news and internal processes could join informational dialogues held at Berlin’s Radialsystem venue. The remainder of the participants broke into small groups equipped with tablet computers for the scavenger hunt. The hunt took them around the event location, taking them to information stands where the answers could be found. In this playful way, participants familiarized themselves with key information about the company and its new strategy. In the early afternoon session, participants switched activities, with everyone getting a turn at the scavenger hunt. Meanwhile, the Solon ran a rapid shuttle service back and forth to the power station, allowing the remaining guests to check out the impressive facility.
For the final late afternoon session, the inspiranten team booked Ralph Goldschmidt, a renowned public speaker. In his fascinating keynote, Goldschmidt outlined his blueprint for self-motivation, including how to break through procrastination and get down to tackling much-postponed tasks.
The event ended with a summary of the day’s learning, and a prize-giving ceremony for the winning scavenger hunt team.
Staff from every area of the company came together for a day of games, updates and information, as well as plenty of constructive one-on-one conversations. The newly developed corporate strategy was presented in a straightforward, accessible way, reaching a wide swathe of the company’s workforce. Our feedback suggested the format was very popular, and should definitely be a fixture of future events.