How to have a Successful Company Picnic

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With warm weather comes the annual Company Picnic when businesses across the country take an afternoon out to show appreciation for their employees and their families.

Here are key steps to a successful Company Picnic:

Create a Fun & Engaging Theme Using a theme not only can make an event more intriguing for participants but can also make planning of the event easier by narrowing down options for food and activities. Consider the entire family when choosing a theme. Obviously, a casino theme which might be fun for adults probably won’t go over as well with the younger family members. Some great theme ideas include:

  • Hawaiian Luau: Whether you roast a pig in a pit or not, the Hawaiian theme is one that’s easy to get started. From encouraging employees to wear their Hawaiian style shirts (or giving them event shirts) to handing out Hawaiian Leis upon their arrival, this is a theme that can be fun, colorful and tasty!
  • Beach Party: Another easy theme whether you live near a the ocean or not is the Beach Theme featuring surf-attire and beach balls. You can even bring in a truck of sand for the little ones!
  • Western: Have a good old fashioned Hoe Down featuring cowboy hats and western wear, bales of hey and some good old country & western music. This can be a perfect theme for picnics during cooler months and colder climates! Heck, maybe even arrange for hey rides!
  • Survivor: Take a lesson for the widely popular television show and use a Survivor theme complete with teams, an immunity necklace and a tropical motif.
  • The Games: While the Olympics remain fresh in everyone’s mind, why not have your own company version of The Games with events for all ages, podiums and even medals?
  • Carnival: A Carnival Theme can take a little more work but can be a whole lot of fun with booths set up for carnival style games like coin toss, ring toss and balloon pop and prizes, you can’t forget the prizes!
  • Sports FANatics: Guest can wear their favorite Jerseys and the activities can be a sample of all the best sporting games around. Of course some good BBQ will round out the fun perfectly
  • The Good Old Fashioned all American Red, White, Blue may be just the ticket. Serve burgers & dogs, create a competition of field day races, fly some flags and you are ready to celebrate

Involve the masses

People who are involved in planning and carrying out an event are not only more likely to show up, but they’re also more likely to get others to want to participate. For smaller companies, ask employees to sign up to coordinate a specific aspect of the event like food coordination, décor, or set up. For larger organizations, get departments to sponsor a specific aspect of the event. At the event, be sure to give recognition to those that do help make it happen whether it be a simple announcement or gift. For larger organizations, why not post banners identifying the department that sponsored a specific activity of course, involving the masses also means involving the management. While it’s great to empower the employees with making decisions for a Company Picnic, it’s still important that management stay involved and even more important for them to be seen involved at the event. There’s no more powerful message of appreciation than having the CEO helping serve up the hot dogs and hamburgers!

Promote the Event in Advance

News flash sending out an email to all employees announcing the date of the company picnic does not really constitute promoting the event. And, please, don’t simply send out an Outlook invitation. That will make it way too much like yet another meeting that the employees would prefer to avoid. Remember that you’re inviting the whole family, not just the employee. So, in addition to potentially sending out a save-the-date email, direct some sort of an invitation to the whole family whether it’s sending out an announcement card to the family’s home or giving employees some sort of a themed item to take home with them.

Include Fun & Rewarding Activities

Without some sort of engaging activities, employees will likely end up sitting and talking with the same group of people that they do on their breaks and at lunch. Why not use the opportunity to foster more interaction and team building with some fun activities that encourage families to engage more with each other. Sports, games and contests are great ways to get people involved but also consider fun learning opportunities. Too, while it’s great to recognize winners with awards, be sure to level the playing field so that everyone has a chance to win a prize of some sort or just incorporate the prize in the activity!

Give Everyone Something to Take Home

Everybody likes to get something free and it’s a great way to help people remember the event. So, be sure to send employees home with something to remember the event with. It might be an award for winning a planned event, a giveaway consistent with the event’s theme or the grand prize from a raffle. Don’t let anyone leave empty handed.

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