Are you among the companies fighting over talented professionals? Due to record-breaking, nationwide labor shortages, successful HR representatives are looking beyond the more obvious incentives of higher salaries and competitive health and retirement benefits. Highly qualified talented professionals are looking for something “more” when it comes to benefits. That’s where the classic company picnic makes its comeback!
Employees want to feel inspired and appreciated by their employers more than ever. HR is increasingly focusing on mental health and inclusion in ways never seen before the pandemic . Successful companies are tackling this by improving and evolving their company culture, with a focus on family values and supportive relationships in the workplace, as well as upholding moral obligations, such as sustainability.
Inspiring employees takes more than just an increase in pay or more vacation days. It takes listening to the HUMAN behind the employee. What do they want? What is important to them? Human Resources has an enormous task bridging the gap between the company and the humans that make up the company.
The pandemic of 2020 has opened people’s eyes to what really matters. Family, friends, connections. Relationships are the core of what it means to be human. The people who ground us, motivate us, and heal the everyday hurts are what matters. And when you work with someone for more time than you are home (8 hours plus a day, 5 plus days a week) for years on end, they become your family. Families spend time together in social settings, like holidays and milestone parties.
Work families need these same opportunities to strengthen their relationships and meet the “extended” members that make up the company. There is a saying “people don’t leave companies, they leave managers”. While not entirely true, it does have a nugget of truth. By giving people an opportunity to make connections to other members of the company, they become invested in their work-family, build invested interest in the success of the company (and therefore, each other), and improve retention overall. It also has the added bonus of attracting highly talented people into an appealing work environment that reflects their values.
The classic company picnic was a staple in years gone by for companies. Sometimes called “Family Fun Days” or “Company BBQs”, these social gatherings include the family of the employees. It shows appreciation, creates shared experiences, and recognizes the importance of the PEOPLE behind the employee. Those families are the reason they show up for work day after day. They are the cheerleaders behind the promotion and success of the employee, and therefore the company as a whole. Giving them at least one day a year to recognize and appreciate them will go a long way with the employees you are trying to inspire.
Many of our clients provide annual company picnics and express that it is the most looked forward to event of the year. Employees get hipped over the details, food, games, competitions, dunk tanking their bosses, and the chance to merge their most important family with their work family. It is more than just hot dogs and winning a stuffed animal at ring toss – it is an expression of gratitude that goes a long way.
A great way to foster your company culture is to leverage the values behind the classic company picnic, but with a new, exciting spin. Especially with the pandemic lingering, these events have to be creative, so they can be safe and fun.
There are many ways to have safe, in-person events. By requiring proof of vaccinations, or COVID screening the day-of, your team can feel confident in their environment. Safety measures can also include outdoor venues, social distancing, and more in-depth cleaning and sanitizing methods.
Outdoor events can be anything from a festival or carnival with games, prizes, and performances, to a company field day, which can create some friendly competition and encourage exercise and wellness, with organized games, sports, and obstacle courses through giant inflatables.
If you feel your team isn’t ready for events with close proximity to others, there’s options for more distanced events. For example, invite your team to kick it old-school and enjoy a drive-in movie. Your team and their family will be able to spend quality time with car-side concessions and performances by fire-breathers, stilt-walkers, or LED entertainers before the movie.
Another example of this type of event is drive-through parades. With a dedicated space to drive through, your team can be immersed in the entertainment of whatever theme you choose, and they can feast on carnival-style treats or delicious pre-packed meals.
With events such as these, your employees have an opportunity to get to know each other on a more personal level, reduce the stress they are feeling from work or the pandemic, and boost their pride in your company.
Events of any form can be modified to be greener and more sustainable, which in turn will show your employees that your company cares about the earth and has strong values that they can be proud of.
Ways to make your event more sustainable include using recycled materials, using technology such as QR codes rather than paper handouts, and reusing decorations for any future events.
Events are also an opportunity to demonstrate how you care about your team. Focus on nurturing your team’s mental health through team building activities, such as games or trust exercises, or even mindfulness activities, such as yoga or meditation. Also, place an emphasis on wellness by offering healthier food and beverage options.
All of these efforts show your employees exactly who you are as a company, and will help reduce turnover and attract top talent.
Putting together events with all of these factors in mind is no small task. You have to ensure your employees are protected, but are free to have a great time. There’s an extensive list of factors to consider, such as the location, theme, activities, catering, entertainment, any necessary audio/visual equipment, invitations, and much more.
Rather than stretching your team’s bandwidth to plan your company picnic, start by exploring some of the unique, innovative, COVID19-safe events we are known for. From picking the perfect location, to transforming your venue to fit the theme, our all-inclusive team can take the stress of planning off your plate and allow you to join in on the fun.
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