Have Yourself a Merry Little Admin Planning Meeting

Have Yourself a Merry Little Admin Planning Meeting


If you ask anyone in our office, “What is the best part of working at TJA?” there’s a unanimous answer: The culture and the people.

That isn’t by happenstance, but by intention. We purposefully create an environment that is conducive to the culture we pride ourselves on. Part of that culture is the rad people that make up our company, as well as the opportunities for culture to organically develop and thrive. Those opportunities come by way of intentional planning which allows us to curate said culture we so proudly tout.

At the end of each year, the TJA  Admin team gets together for an all-day planning session. This meeting consists of building out all the cultural initiatives for the upcoming year, plotting them on a calendar and brainstorming for those events. It results in a well-planned year, promised doses of culture for our team, and not to mention a clear budget for fun!

If you’re thinking, “my company could use some help in this department”, then take a page from our book. Literally. We’ve created a checklist for you!

What you’ll need:

1. Identify your Key Culture Events (KCEs):
This meeting and checklist will be more useful if you know what you should be planning for. Some things to consider are:

  • Company quarterly meetings and leadership retreats
  • Employee anniversaries
  • Employee birthdays
  • Team building activities
  • Office closures
  • Seasonal and holiday events

2. Map it out:
Once your KCEs are identified, translate them onto the colored sticky notes. We like to use a color system when doing this to make it easy. For example:

  • Blue = employee birthdays
  • Pink = employee anniversaries
  • Yellow = company closures
  • Green = team building/culture events
  • Purple = company-wide quarterly meetings and retreats

Writing the events onto the sticky notes allows you to easily move events around as needed, if you run into conflicts, and it keeps your calendars clean. Then, stick them on the blank, monthly calendar on the appropriate date.

Pro tip: If your company plans in quarter increments, group the months into quarters and tape them to a wall or window, areas of the ground or sections of a big table. This gives you an aerial view of your year at large so you can see where things fall and if there are any gaps or a surplus of activities within a given time.

3. Brainstorm the fun stuff:

This is where the magic happens. At TJA, we never miss an opportunity to celebrate and spend time with our people. Go through your list of KCEs and identify what events require a sprinkle of fun, a touch of funky, or extra-special treatment. For example, with team building events, create a list of activities on the giant sticky notes that you can later compile into a shared document to reference later. Or, for employee anniversary gifts, identify each employee’s tenure, group employees with the same anniversary together and ideate a list of gifts for each year. Get creative with it and tailor it to your individual organization and culture. Being prepared for the upcoming year is the intention of this meeting, and no one wants to be scrambling for ideas at the last minute.

Pro Tip: For every new employee, send a survey to garner information about their likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests and fun quirks. This way, when celebrating them, you can curate an experience that is tailored to them.

4. Budgets.

Yikes… the “b” word. But in this context, it’s helpful. Going through each month, identify the following:

  • How many birthdays x cost of birthday gifts  (4 birthdays X $35 = $140 in July)
  • How many anniversaries x cost of anniversary gifts (5 anniversaries X $50 = $250)
    If your company does different gifts for different years, you’ll want to separate these based on year and the appropriate gift
    (4 one year anniversaries x $20 = $80)
    (1 ten year anniversary x $500 = $500)
    Total Anniversary for July: $580
  • Any company events that will cost money? (Team builds, quarterly meetings, etc) x cost for hosting these events
    If you buy lunch for quarterly meetings - set a reasonable budget based on historical spending. If you have spent $300 on lunch last year, you can use that data to form your basis.
  • Total the cost of all expenses for each month
  • Then, total all months together for an annual budget for these events. Accounting will think you’re the sh*t.

5. Organize it!

You have everything from events to budget all mapped out—you’re doing great! The last step of this meeting is to organize and share the information. Remember that shared spreadsheet about the list of activities for company events? Time to compile that data into a consolidated document.

We personally love shared calendars; and use one to keep track of all the things that came from this meeting. Make sure that everyone on the team is invited to the appropriate events like office closures, team building events, happy hours, quarterly meetings, etc.

Most importantly, remember the “why” behind this planning: building relationships, recognizing your people and enhancing company culture. Culture is what separates the great companies from the ordinary.

Download our checklist and get started.

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