A Chat with Lee Rubin, Founder & CEO at Virtual Events Company: Confetti

Who is Confetti and what do you do?

Confetti is an online platform where businesses can discover hundreds of exclusive virtual team building, DE&I and professional development ideas and instantly book truly memorable experiences for their teams.

I lead a team of 60 colleagues, while Confetti is loved by 4,000+ companies such as Google, Facebook, Spotify, and many other start-ups, firms and agencies.

Why did you start the company?

The new generation of business leaders grew up with the Internet – and the internet connected the whole world together in some capacity. In a click we could feel total strangers’ joys, sorrows, culture… and this has allowed us to see each other for what we really are: humans. This notion has increased the capacity for human empathy and COVID fuelled our beliefs of wanting to ensure our precious life-hours are being spent with the right people on the right things… including work.

As the Covid pandemic accelerated the move towards remote and hybrid working, we recognised there would be a continuing demand to bring teams and personnel together as a way of building company culture and make individuals feel valued and part of something bigger than just themselves working in their own homes.

We wanted to use technology to help companies develop and implement their own DE&I strategies and become more diverse and inclusive. We help them build that stronger culture by providing shared experiences for a distributed workforce. On top of making marginalized individuals feel equal at work, themed events enable people across the business to better connect, empathize with their fellow team members and become collectively more invested and productive as a result. This sense of togetherness and community is a real benefit to companies.
Confetti - Crunchbase Company Profile & Funding

How did Covid affect the ability of companies and teams to work collaboratively together?

First, you need to appreciate the level of transformation that the pandemic set in motion.

The number of fully remote workers in the US has increased by 240% since 2021 with every state experiencing at least a 10% year-on-year increase in the share of fully remote workers. Almost six in 10 companies now have at least one remote worker. It’s a huge challenge making those individuals feel involved and part of a collective and that’s the challenge we are helping them to meet.

The virtual events that we are offering offer efficiency and cost-effectiveness to the business without sacrificing any of the benefits that you would get from an in-person event. The fun can be on an even bigger scale!

Our own research has shown that 94% of US companies already fully embrace virtual and hybrid events. In addition, more than 80% of those focused on virtual and hybrid working had no desire to change their strategies.

Only 6.2% of companies that we surveyed said they favoured in-person events, and nearly 94% of companies surveyed said that virtual or hybrid team building events were the best and most effective way for them to organize events based on their current work model. Only 9.3% of the companies we surveyed were running events mostly in person – with 32% operating hybrid events.

Why do you think team events are so important?

Human beings are social creatures, we’ve been coming together since the Stone Ages – it’s part of our nature. We crave connection as part of our basic human psychology, and during an age where most things are virtual, it’s never been more important to continue to foster those relationships in the workplace (both digitally and in person).

Team-building events and experiences in general (virtual, hybrid or in person) provide an opportunity for people in hybrid working cultures to connect with their teammates on a deeper level. These events can be used directly to improve morale, culture, engagement and to foster relationships between team members.

The most successful, most productive businesses are those that put their own people first and foremost. These companies recognize that treating your staff with respect, giving the time and the opportunity to have fun and to bond has a knock-on benefit for not only productivity and performance, but also their own perception of you as a quality employer.

The challenge, of course, has been employers is to find ways to enhance the workplace experience for hybrid workers; foster a sense of collaboration and mutual respect between in-office, hybrid working, and remote team members such that each understands, appreciates and respects the differing personal experiences and needs of each of their colleagues in a way that brings the team together and makes it more productive.

Especially during times of economic downturn, team building events are a must-have in order to keep morale and productivity high. Virtual events specifically are more scalable, cost-effective and inclusive.

What makes a ‘meaningful’ event?

Enjoyment, awareness and connection. If you take any of the events we offer – our Virtual Escape Quest, for example, a digital spin on classic escape rooms – your team members will be able to work together, have fun together, and form relationships through the event. These qualities can then be carried forward into everyday work, even if they aren’t in close physical proximity.

And if it’s an event that celebrates a particular marginalized community for, say, Pride or Juneteenth, it makes those in your workforce who represent those communities feel recognized and valued, and helps their colleagues appreciate them even more. These relationships and sense of team can then be brought into and developed in the next team event, and the one after that. You’re helping them work together without them necessarily even realizing it.

With WFH being more prevalent than ever, has this meant that team experiences are less relevant or perhaps more important than ever?

Working remotely provides an opportunity for many, but it also poses new challenges for companies to cultivate team relationships, ensure that employees – wherever they are – connect with the corporate ethos and, most importantly, help everyone work productively together. Virtual team building events are proven to be successful in doing this for those with remote and hybrid teams.

The range of virtual and hybrid events offered through Confetti are quickly becoming a strategic asset in building company culture for the medium and long term as opposed to a temporary Band-Aid solution for connecting work from home employees.

What does the future have in store for Confetti and where is the company going?

Onwards and upwards! The growth of Confetti since we launched as an online platform has been significant, and the kind of companies that are using our platform indicates the level of potential that there is in the sector.

Our focus is relentlessly on providing new team building experiences and events that will add value to our clients, that make the process straightforward and cost effective for them, and to use technology to prove that relationships and company culture can be built online such that when you do finally come together in person, you already know each other completely anyway. But this is nothing new to our clients – they recognize this and see the value in it already.

How can we find you?

You can find us online at www.withconfetti.com, Facebook, Instagram @with_confetti and on LinkedIn, or reach out directly at [email protected].