New Year Staff Meeting Ideas: Energize Your Team for a Productive Year Ahead

Kickstart your New Year with fun and creative New Year staff meeting ideas!

The Meetingnotes Team
December 22, 2023

As a leader, one of your main responsibilities should be to motivate your team. Whether you're new to management, or a seasoned leader, one fact remains the same. It's your duty to serve as a guiding light for your teammates. The best leaders empower their peers to be the best version of themselves and there’s no better opportunity to spark motivation than the beginning of a new year. An engaging team meeting can serve as a source of motivation, allowing you as the leader to share your vision for the upcoming year while emphasizing the importance of individual and collective contributions. Fun and innovative meeting ideas can help boost employee engagement while ensuring a successful meeting. In this article, we’ll dive into tons of fun and creative New Year staff meeting ideas so you can boost employee engagement and host more productive meetings. You can use these New Year staff meeting ideas in your in-person meeting strategies or during your next virtual staff meeting! 


The Importance of the First Meeting of the Year

The New Year means new beginnings and your first meeting of the New Year is no exception. This meeting possesses an excellent opportunity to align and inspire your team and sets the tone for the entire year ahead. Instead of treating this interaction like every other meeting, it's important to communicate your expectations, set goals and priorities, and establish a framework for success for the year to come. The New Year is a natural time to set goals and plan for the New Year and it's important that this practice extends beyond your personal life and into your professional life. The first meeting of the year will allow you to host an open conversation about organizational goals and objectives, team targets, and individual contributions. Use this meeting to build momentum and motivate your team for the year to come. When facilitated effectively, the first meeting of the year will lay the groundwork for a productive and successful year ahead by fostering alignment, setting goals, and inspiring tenacity. 


While the first meeting of the year is fundamental, it's important to note that all meetings can play a pivotal role in team building and productivity by fostering collaboration, enhancing communication, and aligning team members. Best practices for hosting productive meetings include: 

  • Setting clear objectives 
  • Assigning meeting roles 
  • Creating a feedback loop 
  • Sending meeting reminders 
  • Following up on action items
  • Crafting a meticulous guest list 
  • Incorporating team building activities 
  • Starting and ending the meeting on time 
  • Creating and following a meeting agenda 
  • Leveraging meeting management software 
  • Choosing the optimal time and meeting length 


Creative Ideas for Your New Year Staff Meeting

1. Kick things off with icebreakers 

There's nothing worse than attending a dull meeting where meeting participants are disengaged. To kickstart your meeting on the right foot, it's important to start with small talk, or even icebreakers. Providing meeting attendees with the opportunity to have a little bit of fun before it's time to dive into the details will help attendees start the conversation and get more comfortable with one another. If you're meeting virtually, you can ask meeting participants to share a fun fact with the team and team members can tag one another until everyone has had the opportunity to share, eliminating the risk of interruption. If you're meeting in-person, you can encourage teammates to pair off and connect with another teammate they may not be familiar with. Here are some fun icebreaker questions to get the ball rolling: 

  • What's your New Year’s Resolution? 
  • What skill are you hoping to refine this year? 
  • What was the most fun you’ve ever had at work? 
  • Which company value means the most to you and why? 
  • What was your team's biggest accomplishment last year? 
  • What are you most looking forward to this year at work?


2. Set goals for the upcoming year 

New year staff meetings are the perfect opportunity to spark motivation and set goals for the upcoming year. The first meeting of the year marks a significant checkpoint for your organization, providing you with the forum necessary to discuss lessons learned, evaluate prior performance, agree on shared goals, and set yourself up for a successful year ahead. When setting goals for the upcoming year, it's important to look at your organizational goals and work backwards. You must identify how your team can work together to achieve greater organizational goals. To get started, consider crowdsourcing strategic questions like: 

  • What areas should we focus on for the upcoming year?
    How can our team collaborate more effectively to achieve shared goals? 
  • What tools do we need to access to enhance collaboration and productivity? 
  • What professional development opportunities would help you thrive in your role in the upcoming year? 


3. Celebrate wins from the previous year

If you don’t take the time to celebrate your teammates, you won't be able to motivate them for future success. Celebrating the wins from the previous year is an excellent way to kick off the New Year, especially if you want to sustain your success. Not only will celebrating your collective wins during your first meeting of the New Year boost morale, but it will also enhance productivity and performance, and create a positive feedback loop, helping to drive continuous improvements and sustained growth. Additional benefits of celebrating your team wins include: 

  • Strengthening team bonding 
  • Boosting employee retention 
  • Recognizing individual contributions 
  • Building a positive workplace culture 
  • Encouraging innovation and risk-taking 


4. Provide lunch of a stipend for a meal

There's nothing that brings peers together like sharing a meal. If you're conducting your first meeting of the year in-person, consider catering lunch for your team. This will let them know they are appreciated and valued. If your teammates are meeting remotely, consider providing a stipend for everyone to order lunch. You can encourage your team to order lunch and eat together during your virtual staff meeting. This is a quick and easy gesture that you can integrate into your staff meeting agenda to boost employee engagement and morale. 


5. Host team trivia 

Team building activities like trivia can be a great way to boost employee engagement and host more productive meetings. If you’ve been struggling with ideas and haven’t been able to come up with a fun way to kick off your first meeting of the year, team trivia is a quick and easy way to spice things up. Whether you're hosting a virtual staff meeting, or meeting in person, you can play this fun and exciting game to get to know your teammates on a deeper level. The key to a fun and exciting trivia game is preparing in advance. Consider having your teammates email you a few fun facts about themselves. You can then read the facts allowed during your meetings and encourage your teammates to vote on who the fact belongs to. Not only is this fun and engaging, but it's also a great way to get to know one another. Prompts for team trivia may include: 

  • What is your best travel story? 
  • What is your biggest accomplishment in life to date? 
  • Do you speak multiple languages? How many and what are they? 
  • What’s the craziest thing you’ve witnessed on your commute to work? 
  • If you could work remotely from anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? 


Tools for Engaging Meetings in the New Year

1. Fellow

Fellow is a meeting management and productivity tool that empowers teams to host productive team meetings and on-on-ones with a suite of tools that prioritize engagement. With Fellow, you and your teammates can work collaboratively to build great meeting habits through meeting agendas, real-time note taking, and time-saving templates. You can even leverage the one-of-a-kind feedback feature to give and receive feedback, and request and track real-time feedback on meetings, recent projects, and performance. 


Fellow’s pricing consists of two main plans, starting at a free plan for teams of 10 people or less and extending to a pro plan for $7/user per month for teams of up to 50 people. The best part about Fellow is that you can use it to manage the entire meeting lifecycle, making meeting management and facilitation and engaging and collaborative process from start to finish.



2. Slido

Slido is an industry-leading audience interaction platform that helps users host more impactful meetings with a suite of tools that allow facilitators to engage with participants including live polls, quizzes, and word clouds. Additionally, Slido integrates with all your favorite tools—like Webex, PowerPoint, YouTube, and Google Slides—and you can try the platform for free! You can experiment with the basic plan and upgrade as needed for only $20 per month so you determine if this platform has the engagement capabilities necessary to level up your meetings.



3. Mural

Mural is a collaborative online resource that empowers teams to collaborate and think outside the box with a suite of intuitive tools that mimic a whiteboard. This unique digital environment leverages visual collaboration to empower every member of your team to unlock ideas and solve problems together so you can level the playing field for distributed teams by ensuring everyone’s voice is heard. Pricing varies depending on your needs but it's important to note that you can get started for free. Additional plans range from $9.99/month/user to $17.99/ month/ user. 



4. Miro

Miro is a versatile resource often used by teams that are eager to boost engagement during meetings. With cutting-edge features like timers, voting, a specific meeting mode, and chat features, Miro is built for running collaborative and engaging virtual meetings. In addition to helping you host collaborative sessions, brainstorming is where Miro shines. To get started, Miro offers a comprehensive library of templates with numerous test cases, so you never have to worry about starting from scratch. Miro has four separate plans ranging from a free plan with its most basic features to an enterprise plan that is quoted on an as-needed basis. 



5. Kahoot

Used in over 200 countries and trusted by 97% of Fortune 500 companies, Kahoot is leveraged worldwide to make virtual meetings more engaging. Kahoot! transforms presentations, training sessions, events, and meetings in organizations of any size by empowering users to create and deliver engaging learning experiences. When it comes to pricing, plans vary based on your needs. The standard individual Kahoot plan starts at $17/ month and allows up to 20 participants to participate. For additional users, plans extend to $79/host per month.


6. Zoom Polls

Already a Zoom user? Integrating Zoom polls into your Zoom meetings is a quick and easy way to make your meetings more engaging. The polling feature for meetings allows you to create single-choice or multiple-choice polling questions to engage participants. To use this feature, simply launch it during your next meeting and gather responses as you go. For additional insights, you can download a report of all responses after the meeting has finished! 

Zoom Polls


7. Poll Everywhere

Aren’t a Zoom user? Poll everywhere is an additional polling tool that can be used with your video conferencing software of choice to boost engagement during your meetings by providing you with the tools to engage your audience, capture feedback, and present live results. Like other engagement tools on this list, Poll Everywhere can be used to seamlessly engage your audience during virtual meetings through live online polling, surveys, Q&As, quizzes, word clouds, and more. Poll Everywhere has a variety of plans at different price points that cater to both businesses and nonprofits, making it an accessible resource for everyone. 

Poll Everywhere


Ready to put your new year staff meeting ideas into practice? 

If you want to kick the New Year off on the right foot, you must get creative. Integrating innovative meeting ideas like team building activities that boost employee engagement is a great way to foster alignment and boost employee morale. 

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