Fostering Collective Development, Bonding, and Connection at Product Plan Fest 2022

Morgen Monie
VP, People and Culture at ProductPlan

ProductPlan Team at Fest 2022

Many of us have been to a corporate event at some point in our careers. Often they focused on lengthy training sessions, had a high-stakes environment of “impressing your boss,” and the cocktail hour mingling that was more painful than relaxing. While the COVID pandemic put these events on hiatus, they sadly still exist. But we knew it didn’t have to be this way. That’s why ProductPlan purposefully created an experience that flipped this narrative.

ProductPlan’s all-company event, known as Fest, started many years back when our first remote team was hired and began to experience the common disconnect between in-office and remote work. Far before the COVID pandemic, these experiences were real and something employers needed to solve. Looking back, we feel lucky that we channeled a lot of focus and effort toward creating an equitable work experience for in-office and remote employees well before the world was thrust into it with little to no warning or time to plan.

Fest created a time when employees from near and far came together to grow personally and professionally, all while having fun. The ultimate goal was to increase employee engagement, satisfaction, and stickiness at the company.

We’re creating all-employee events that make sense for the moment

ProductPlan’s Fest has always been and will continue to be organic to where the company and employee needs are at that time. In years past, Fest included developer-specific hackathons, sushi dinners, problem-solving sessions, murder mystery parties, scavenger hunts, etc. You name it; we probably did it! No matter what the team needed, the company looked for creative ways to provide that in a collective experience. The common denominator is that we built Fest to meet our employee’s needs, not our own – this may be the primary differentiating factor from other corporate events. There is something for everyone, and no detail is overlooked.

Bringing a rapidly growing team together for connection, fun, and appreciation

This year, Fest included three days in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. Team members flew in from near and far (some literally across the globe!) to connect over various activities designed for their unique roles and needs. This year’s Fest was a long time coming and had a unique challenge because the team is the largest it has ever been in the history of ProductPlan. Last quarter alone, we hired over twenty new employees across Product, Engineering, People and Culture, Sales, and Customer Success! With so many new faces on Zoom, we needed to bring the company together in person.

There were fun moments of food trucks, sunrise yoga, late-night fire pit shenanigans, beach volleyball, and trivia on topics such as diversity, culture, and inclusion. We even had a wonderful and insightful keynote presentation from Product Management thought leader, Dan Olsen. However, the magic of our Fest was the enhancement of our company culture. We wove our values of Hustle, Humility, and Heart into every moment of the event. In addition, we built bridges across departments with cross-collaboration sessions. We hosted educational training and added fun competitions, including one around Quarterly Business Reviews. We also made sure to show our team members some personalized appreciation.

At the end of the day, the little moments matter. For example, we asked our team members about their favorite snacks and personalized their welcome bags. In addition, each manager wrote unique appreciation cards to their employees. It may seem small, but when a team member opened their welcome bag and saw their favorite chips or beef jerky, they knew we cared about their individual needs.

These moments break down the anxieties some have with meeting so many new people for the first time off Zoom. All of these touches of appreciation culminated on the last day when we celebrated our company’s success.

We’re already looking forward to next year’s Fest

Although three days feel like a whirlwind, we’re thrilled with its impact on our team. In fact, over 90 percent of ProductPlanners said that Fest increased their feeling of connection with the company and peers. I am already excited to start planning next year’s event!

If ProductPlan sounds like the right fit for your next chapter, we’d love to hear from you. Take a look at our open roles at