Due to ever increasing liability, many companies are opting out of sponsoring outings. Times were a company would plan an employee appreciation picnic, send out invitations and people would sign-up to bring a potluck item. Today, invitations have given way to liability waivers and in place of a rousing speech by the company’s owner at the get together, employees read a scripted greeting from the ‘Management Team’ prior to the event. Here are some ideas that will help make your company outing a day to remember, not a day employees wish they could forget.
Be Casual but be Cautious
It should be clearly stated that participation in the event is voluntary. Also, employees should be reminded of safety guidelines and not handed a two-page legal document reciting liability disclaimers and post-incident legal remedies. Remember, the event is intended to raise morale while reminding the team that they are important and appreciated. They are human beings with remarkable personalities. Besides, no amount of disclaimers and waiver forms will get your company out of trouble in the event of an accident. When you plan a company event anything can happen. It’s up to the leaders to take some responsibility.
It’s Their Event
The event is for your team. Get their input and let them run with it. If the employees want a potluck instead of a catered meal, let them create the potluck. If they choose to form their own carpools, go along with it. Once again, company events should be planned to be casual and fun. Strictly run events can turn into just another company meeting. Let employees put their stamp on the event, making its success their success.
Follow the Leader
Any good event must have a strong leadership team or champion that takes responsibility for the planning. Furthermore, there must be leadership throughout the event as well. Someone should have a roster to ensure everyone has made it safely to the event, a cell phone so employees can contact them if they get lost and information and a plan for any emergency situations. Also, making sure the company outing continues on a socially ethical and appropriate path will keep the event comfortable for all involved. In other words, the team should behave and treat each other with the same courtesy and respect as they do at the office. It’s incumbent upon the event planner/leader to set a good example while making the day fun for all.
Who’s the Boss?
History shows that some of the best leaders have gained a greater sense of empathy as well as respect from their employees when they participate in the lighter side of their teams’ lives. A team that sees their boss in a pair of shorts and a silly Hawaiian shirt on a bright spring day with the kids in tow is more apt to see him as a human being who can empathize with them. They will consider him to be part of the team and feel a greater sense of belonging than if they were to receive a card three weeks after the picnic signed by his secretary thanking them for participating. Bosses, please remember that the team is the driving force behind the success of the company, not the other way around. Company events should be designed to reward employees for a job well done and who better to be there to do that than the boss himself.
Company events can be a fantastic way to boost the morale of your team. Planning these events with the employees in mind will ensure that the day is a great success. See you at the park!!
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