How to rock your benefits fair

I'm totally blessed with awesome clients who walk their walk and talk their talk when it comes to their mission statements and creating fabulous workplaces. This past Sunday I got to hang out with one of them during their annual benefits fair. I say "benefits fair," but that sounds like a room full of booths with employees begrudgingly being ushered through to get a free stress ball and water bottle to make the HR manager happy. I normally despise these things because it's a bunch of standing around for hours on end hoping employees will show up. (I've considered dressing up in costume or having a karaoke machine to make it more fun amongst all the other things we do to make our booth attractive and fun.)

This...oh this was more like an Advance Financial company extravaganza...

They closed down the parking lot and street block adjoining their building and had an all out benefits party. The deejay pumped music into the tent for three hours, zoomba and kickboxing classes took place center stage for employees to get a taste of what the classes are like, company obstacle course teams competed for prizes, kids ran around looking for healthy snacks on the vendor tables on their way to the giant bouncy slides, and your biometric screening got you in a drawing to win coveted concert tickets. We were there with our own giveaway and raffle (tickets were given for increasing your 401k contribution) located not far from the goofy photo booth. I turned around to see an employee racing down the side street -- the company track team's race was on! Who could run around the block the fastest, competing for baseball tickets, concert tickets, or the privilege to wear jeans to work for a week. In addition, about 20 vendors were there with tables to promote opportunities for wellness of all sorts and getting involved in the community.  The big finale was the fire trucks showing up for the kids to tour and get pictures taken, and we all cooled down with yoga.

How do you make your benefits fair totally awesome and encourage your employees to get involved with their benefits? Let me put it to you this way: at one point I saw the President turning giant tires over as many times as possible in 30 seconds for his team during the company obstacle course while the CEO was breaking it down on the zoomba stage with her daughter in tow. Do make it a worthwhile event for people to attend. Don't make it a benefits fair in a corporate conference room with a bunch of vendor nerds handing out water bottles and stress balls. I can assure you that the employees don't like it any more than the vendors do! Get creative!

 Follow Advance Financial on Twitter at @af_247 or see more about their benefits here.