Discover how Mace exceeded employee satisfaction targets at its festival-themed 25-year anniversary event
“If you think you’re here for a normal end-of-year communications session you’re in for a real surprise,” said Mace CEO Mark Reynolds to over 2600 people on 3 December 2015. So began Mace’s end-of-year communications session with a difference: the Festival of Frontiers.
It was the climax of an extraordinary year for Mace, a year marking its 25th anniversary through a packed programme of activity. Mace gathered all UK employees together under one roof for the first time in five years and paid tribute to the pioneering spirit synonymous with the company.
Mace wanted to create a unique experience to round off an unforgettable year and to give its employees the chance to celebrate together, thank them for their hard work in 2015 and join together to celebrate the 25-year milestone. The ground-breaking event provided Mace’s people with opportunities for networking and celebration, and instilled an even greater sense of pride in the company’s accomplishments since 1990.
Mace ‘pioneers’ were called to explore a Mace world, with themed food and drink corresponding to global hubs. Guests were treated to mind-blowing performances throughout the evening from the cast of
The Lion King
, laser acts and Rockaoke, all culminating in a fantastic headline performance from Razorlight.
Mace is an international consultancy and construction company employing over 5000 people across five continents, with a turnover of £1.77 billion. Mace’s business is truly multi-disciplinary, with services spanning the property and infrastructure lifecycle.
Bringing everyone together to celebrate 25 years of Mace was a huge challenge. The company last attempted to bring all UK employees together for one celebration in 2010, and the business has changed significantly since then. It has grown quickly, with employee numbers up by 33% and a record number of UK offices and locations. The company’s huge growth had left some teams feeling a little disconnected and unsure about what the future would hold, so Mace knew it wanted to bring everyone together and instill a sense of pride and community.
One of the biggest challenges was finding a venue big enough to host all UK employees, kitting it out to suit their needs and then finding a way to bring everyone from Edinburgh to Exeter safely to London. Mace chose the Copper Box Arena in east London.
Mace wanted to create a unique experience to round up an unforgettable year and to give employees the chance to celebrate together, thank them for their hard work in 2015 and join together to celebrate the 25-year milestone. The objectives were to:
- Leverage the 25th anniversary campaign and create a platform for employee engagement.
- Celebrate the milestone of Mace turning 25.
- Reflect on the company’s journey over the past 25 years and look ahead to the next 25.
- Provide opportunities for informal networking.
- Create an unforgettable evening of entertainment.
- Generate pride in working for Mace.
All UK employees were invited to attend the Festival of Frontiers, but with teams operating everywhere from Edinburgh to Exeter, the logistical challenges of travel and accommodation, the mammoth task of finding a venue to host over 2600 people and the drive to create an unforgettable experience that everyone would enjoy and remember was a massive undertaking.
Media, channels or techniques used
Unlike previous years, the communications portion of the evening was quite brief. Mace’s CEO paid tribute to the company’s founders and personally thanked everyone for their contribution to Mace’s success over the past 25 years. He then introduced a very special end-of-year video, which broke with tradition. Instead of the usual round-up of challenges and successes over the year, the video followed the company’s anniversary baton, dubbed ‘The Adventurer’, on a whirlwind journey around the world set to Take That’s ‘These Days’.
Guests were treated to a spectacular opening show before being invited down to explore the ‘Mace World’ that had been built for the event. Everyone was given a festival style lanyard with a map of the venue on one side and key timings on the other.
A huge build had to take place to transform vision into reality. A stage and massive screen were installed from which Mace’s CEO delivered his speech, and four custom-built staircases were constructed to provide access from the tiered seating to the ground floor. Hundreds of metres of draping and thousands of props were used to dress the space: a tiered zen garden represented Hong Kong, the Middle East was evoked in an alchemist’s lair, a safari scene with a real jeep, sand and life-sized animal models created a South Africa theme, a casino represented North America and a hybrid of Parisian, Italian, Spanish and British props transformed one corner into Europe. Two enormous space zones were constructed to represent ‘Mace in Space’.
Headline act Razorlight remained a closely guarded secret. The reveal, which was met with enormous excitement, meant tweets and Facebook posts lasted for days after the event.
The event video and photographs from the evening were quickly made available on Mace’s intranet to continue the feel-good factor and reinforce the happy memories from the evening. Requests for feedback were also sent out, asking employees if they’d enjoyed being part of the 25th anniversary celebrations and whether they thought it was an exciting time to work for Mace: a resounding 96% said yes.
The approach of drip feeding teaser information about the event in the weeks and months leading up to it built excitement and generated the desired buzz in Mace corridors. The event was designed to pique interest with surprises at every turn as guests were led through Mace’s history, achievements and milestones through to the present day and on to the future. Taking guests on a journey of discovery, just as the company’s founders had done 25 years ago, made them feel part of Mace and reinforced the message that they play a vital role in Mace’s future success.
Feedback was requested from all attendees following the event, with all targets surpassed:
• 93% of people said they’d enjoyed the 25th anniversary (target 90%).
• 96% of people said it was an exciting time to work for Mace (target 90%).
• 90% of people were positive about the future of Mace (target 90%).
• 81% of people took part in a 25th anniversary activity (target 80%).
• 95% of people thought that the overall quality of the event was good or excellent (target 90%).
ROI from this event was about more than just numbers. The company wanted to instil employees with a sense of pride in working for Mace, and thank them for their hard work and contribution to the business.
Employee feedback included:
“An excellent event with no expense spared. This only goes to show how valued I feel as a Mace employee.”
“This event shows that Mace sets itself apart from other companies I have worked for and is a real celebration for and of its staff.”