Portugal Telecom won a Stevie Award for Best Internal Recognition/Motivational Event in the Live Event awards categories of The 7th Annual International Business Awards. Read the full-text of their winning entry.
Portugal Telecom (PT) held a hugely successful Christmas party for all their employees on December 18, 2009—for the second consecutive year—which was an auspicious way both to end the year and to start the new cycle for 2010. Here we look at how they organized this mega-event.
PT’s main objectives for organizing such a massive party—it was held in FIL, Lisbon’s futuristic International Fair halls in the Parque das Nações, and attended by just under 9,000 people—were to bring as many of their employees together as possible, to make them all feel a part of the PT team, to celebrate the year’s successes, and, of course, to celebrate the spirit of the holidays.
The logistics of organizing such an event were awe-inspiring. Following the success of the 2008 Christmas party, it was likely that even more of the 8,500 PT employees would want to attend the 2009 event; and PT had a formidable task to meet and surpass the high expectations raised by the 2008 party.
Christmas for People with Fiber
The theme for the event was Christmas for People with Fiber (as in fiber-optic technology) and the space was to be decorated to reflect this theme. PT first had to find a space large enough to hold up to 9,000 people; that would allow for them all to sit down to eat; and that would provide space for the entertainment afterwards, a post-dinner show with a medley of Portuguese music.
The PT Christmas party opened with welcome cocktails and a performance by the Botswana Marimbas band. This reflected one of PTs social missions, as the company sponsors this group of youngsters, who use traditional instruments from Botswana to create their music. Their performance also provided a neat segue to a presentation of the many other social projects sponsored by PT both in Portugal and in other countries where it operates, including the recycling of computers undertaken by PT volunteers. This particular project has been a great example of how much can be attained when PT employees set themselves a goal.
PT’s Chief Executive Officer, Zeinal Bava, spoke after dinner. The guests were then invited to go to Hall 2 for a concert of Portuguese music performed by well-known Portuguese artists and musicians. This was the main attraction for the 2009 Christmas party, with a selection of songs tracing the history of modern Portuguese music. PT created this repertoire especially to reflect modernity and innovation. They put together a Super Band of top Portuguese musicians who performed popular Portuguese music from the eighties to the present day. Everyone was encouraged to sing along, and for those who didn’t already know the words, the lyrics were projected on to a big screen so that everyone could join in.
Following this show, there was a lively disco that lasted until late at night. The evening’s diverse program included lots of surprises like the circus acts and celebrity interviews that started during the opening and continued until late.
From the beginning to the end of their Christmas party, PT arranged for communication and entertainment events to keep the guests engaged. During the reception there were music and circus acts in the FIL entrance hall to entertain early arrivals. PT set up a continuous internal TV broadcast displaying on screens around the hall everything that was going on during the course of the event, including the arrival of guests, guest interviews, and coverage of guest reactions. PT also arranged for Sapo[LINK: http://www.sapo.pt/] photographers to snap images during the event, which were later posted on an internal portal for all PT employees to view and download.
The party was organized from start to finish by PT’s Corporate Communications and Image Department. All event communications were handled entirely online. PTs Chief Executive Officer sent out the invitation as an email to all PT employees. This invitation linked to an Intranet area dedicated to the event. Everything—from registrations, confirmations, event information and logistics, and news—was available on this site.
PT arranged transportation for employees based outside Lisbon, either by plane, train, or bus, depending on the departure point and the number of people traveling. The company also provided accommodations for those who had to travel from remote locations like the Azores and Madeira Islands. All arrangements for transportation and accommodation were made via the Christmas Party Intranet.
A survey carried out by the PT communications department after the event showed that of the over 8,700 people that attended, 91% gave the event a Good/Very Good evaluation, and a whopping 96% said it had met/exceeded their expectations.
Their next challenge? What to do for 2010!
About Zeinal Bava
Zeinal Bava is Chief Executive Officer of Portugal Telecom, the largest Portuguese telecommunications company, with over seventy five million customers in Portugal, Brazil, Africa, and Asia as at the end of the first half of 2010. He was appointed CEO of PT in April 2008 and was re-elected in March 2009 for the 2009-2011 term. Bava began his career at PT as CFO of the Pay-TV division (PT Multimédia) in 1999 and was Group CFO of PT from 2000 to 2006. During his ten years at PT, before becoming CEO of the company, Bava held key management roles in the main business units of PT: he was CEO of the Pay-TV division from 2003 until the company’s spin-off in 2007; Vice-President and Head of the residential unit of the fixed-line business (PT Comunicações) in Portugal; CEO of the domestic mobile division (TMN); a member of the Board of Directors of Brasilcel; Chairman of the Board of the shared-services unit (PT Pro); and a member of the Board of PT Internacional.
Prior to joining PT, Bava served as Executive Director and Relationship Manager for Portugal of Merrill Lynch International from 1998 until 1999, of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell from 1996 until 1998, and of Warburg Dillon Read from 1989 until 1996.
In 2010, Bava was elected “Best CEO” in the telecommunications sector in Europe by Institutional Investor, and “Best CEO” in Portugal by Extel. In 2009, Bava was named “Best CEO in Investor Relations” in Deloitte’s Investor Relations & Governance Awards. As Group CFO he was named “Best CFO” three times in the European telecommunications sector by Institutional Investor.
Zeinal Bava is 44 years old and holds a degree in electrical and electronic engineering from University College London.
About Portugal Telecom
Portugal Telecom is a global telecommunications operator and the leading telecommunications services provider in Portugal. The company operates in the areas of fixed, mobile, and multimedia communications; information systems; research and development; satellite communications; and international investments. Portugal Telecom has a presence on the European, American, Asian, and African continents, and has over 300,000 employees worldwide.
For more information go to www.telecom.pt.