If you come trick-or-treating at my house tonight, this is who will greet you at the door. I learned many years ago to engage my pups in the festivities – even though that means standing behind a gate. By allowing them to be a part of the process they are quite content with their supporting role but if I had tried to keep them in the other room the neighbors several houses away would have heard them expressing their displeasure every time the doorbell rang.
I think there are parallels with your employees. They don’t always need to have a voice or decision-making power but, like everyone, they want to be a part of what is going on. It’s fine to set boundaries and limit their engagement but avoid excluding them entirely.
Think about ways you can give your staff more access to the action. Are there ways to provide opportunities to at least observe what is going on even if they don’t participate? Can you create a role that provides them first-hand exposure to what will be talked about tomorrow? Is there a way to capitalize on “new eyes” experiencing your event and learn from that feedback?
It’s ok to put up a gate but don’t leave them out altogether.