When Our Celebrations Refused to Be Locked Down

When Our Celebrations Refused to Be Locked Down

A sprawling banquet hall, a big stage with flashy lights, a great backdrop – that’s what one would visualize for an Annual awards function, right? Top it up with a podium where execs are seated. Then, there’s the Master of ceremonies addressing the audience – employees seated in anticipation to know who the award winners are.

Cut to June 2020. With the pandemic causing enough concerns, several companies are required to postpone or cancel public gatherings. Celebrations have got a subdued tone. And award functions now seem the stuff of dreams.

Not at Harbinger Group! So proud to share that on June 29 and 30, Harbinger Group went ahead and had its Annual awards event – with a difference. It was a 100% virtual one with almost 1000 employees from India and the US “zooming” in for two days of excitement and fun.

Why am I remembering this now?

For the simple reason that at Harbinger, we believe that agility is the buzzword which can turn around the present market conditions for better. And while most of us do value this, the way to go about it is critical.

We Got It Right

Planning and executing an award function of this scale, and that too completely online, saw many of us putting in great share of agility and creativity. Just as the award night used to be celebrated previously, this year too we saw similar energy levels and audience participation, a perfect mix of entertainment, and everything else needed to make it a super-slick performance.

Most of us are still working from home. But that didn’t lessen the buzz even a bit. Starting almost a month prior to the actual event, there was pre-planned communication going out to the employees, enough to build up the tempo. By the time the D-day arrived, everyone was highly curious about what was to come for an hour-and-a-half, for two evenings.

I think we also witnessed wonderful camaraderie on screen from the videos Harbingers made on the hugely popular concept of pass-the-prop. Then, there were panel discussions on each day – one with senior execs of the company and another with the relatively junior members. Our employees never fall short at participation and not surprisingly, for the discussions, questions were so lively and interesting, that together with the panelists’ thoughtful answers, it made for a great time.

We also felt good to watch customer videos talking about their engagement with Harbinger. It was a morale booster, no doubt. So were the videos about our hugely popular VItaMIN that concluded with its first series. I also appreciate a tribute video made to thank the enabling functions who have supported the organization during the lockdown.

The icing on the cake was the customary ‘Director’s citations’ where a few senior managers were recognized for their exceptional contribution during the year. It is always heartening to hear an awardee’s impromptu acceptance speech.

Here’s to Many More!

Was this a successful event? Absolutely! Employees rated the performance 4.5 (out of 5). And not to forget, post the event, there were around 200 A4-size pages of chat that happened, most of which were congratulatory messages for the winners. You can check out the short videos here – on VItaMIN and the Annual awards.

All I can say is, virtual is here to stay. As responsible organizations, we need to pivot the physical processes in such a way that employees remain engaged and actively connected irrespective of whether they work out of an office space or their homes. The Harbinger Annual awards and the recent VItaMIN sessions were just the perfect examples of this.

In fact, we are hosting an exclusive roundtable meet next week on how you can identify the new competitive advantages for your company. This Harbinger Power Hour is scheduled on August 11, at 11 AM Eastern Time, and it would be great if you can join us.

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