Other than the fact that it is summer and a wonderful time for a picnic or outdoor event, there are more really great, even practical, reasons to host a company-wide summer bash this year. For example:
- Show appreciation!
Your employees make your company what it is –you really couldn’t do it without them. Hosting a big summer bash demonstrates you see and appreciate what they do.
- Boost engagement!
Statistics across the board show employees who feel seen and appreciated are more likely to stay engaged at work. Engaged employees boost productivity, and we all know that’s an excellent thing.
- Promote friendships!
Work is always more pleasant when you work with friends. Company events allow employees to enjoy one another’s company off the clock, strengthening those workplace bonds.
- Good food!
Whether you bring in a caterer or host a potluck, good food creates a good mood!
Besides, what would your summer be without Jennifer’s key lime pie? Or Kevin’s chili? (Hint, hint! See recipe below!) Or Barb’s creamy corn salad?
But Now the Planning
The fact remains that despite all the awesomeness of a summer, company-wide outdoor event, planning it takes a whole lot of work. And logistics. And time. And money. And –well, you know what we mean. It can quickly turn into a planning nightmare.
So that’s why we put together a guide to help you create the best company picnic ever.
1. Establish a Budget: The very first thing you need to do is establish your budget. Your budget will help determine how many people will be included in the event. For example, will employees’ immediate families be invited or your employees and their plus one? Formulating your budget is crucial to the success of the party. The budget impacts:
- Food/drink choices
- Equipment rental
- Employee gifts and game/door prizes
2. Select Your Venue: Choose a place that accommodates your team’s needs, aligns with your company values, and fits the budget. A venue determines how formal or casual the event is, as well as what food and entertainment options are possible, so it is essential to look at lots of alternatives.
- State parks with picnic areas
- The grassy lot next to your building
- Golf courses
- Outdoor event centers
- A backyard – if the company is small and the yard is large.
- A public park with covered pavilions
3. Food Prep: Planning the menu for an outdoor event is challenging if you do not have access to a kitchen. If you have selected a more formal setting, like an outdoor event center, perhaps it would be most fitting to have the whole event catered. Ensure the menu is inclusive of dietary needs within the company. For a more casual outdoor setting, order food for pickup. If your venue permits, you could even bring down some grills and have a cookout –assigning the C-suite as grill masters!
4. Plan Entertainment: Hosting games and entertainment encourages employees and their families to interact. Sack races, three-legged races, corn hole, water balloon tosses, scavenger hunts, and guessing games are all fun and easy for outdoor events. Nine-Square is a fun-for-all mixer –an unlimited number of all ages can play it. For more formal events, and if your budget allows, think about bringing in a band, comedian, or a motivational speaker. If kids are attending, a bounce house, face painting, or even carnival stands are all terrifically fun!
5. Send Out Invites: When it’s time to send out invites, set clear boundaries and ground rules. (After all, this is still a company event.) Make sure they know who all in their family is included. Specify whether this will be an alcohol-free event. If not, will it be provided? Will there be a cash bar? Are attendees allowed to bring in their alcoholic beverages? Communicate the proper attire for the event and venue. Include the start time, location details, and what they need to bring. Your invite can be a company-wide email or an insert with paychecks. Of course, you can make your invitation fancy or fun, but remember, clear communication is far more important than style.
6. As the Date Approaches: Ensure all your logistics are set in place. Don’t be afraid to delegate to a trusted team member! Here is a very general list of things you want in order.
- Deposits/rental payments
- Paper plates, utensils, and napkins
- Supplies for games
- Swag and gifts for employees
- Garbage sacks
- Sanitary wipes
- Drink coolers
Sure, there is a lot of prep work involved! But at the end of the day, a company summer event is a great way to show your employees appreciation and having a fabulous time while you are at it.