Hosting a successful company outing can be difficult because employees have so many different needs and wants. If the CEO loves sports, that may seem like the obvious thing to do, but what if not everyone likes physical activity—or what if not everyone is capable of participating in a sporting event? The last thing you want is for your company activity to exclude someone with a disability. How can you make a company outing fun for everyone?
Vary Your Activities
Unless your company consists of three people with the same interests, it’s impossible to create a company outing that makes everyone happy. You’ll go crazy trying. Instead, change things up every year. That way, you can have the volleyball tournament that the CEO loves, and the lunch cruise that the finance department has been asking for—just not all at the same time. When people know there will be something different next year, they are less likely to feel bad about the event being something they don’t care for this year.
Get Staff Input
Ask! What are people interested in? You may even learn some things that you weren’t aware of. You can have a family picnic, do a locked room mystery or take everyone to the local movie theater to see the latest blockbuster. Find out what your staff is interested in and pay attention to their responses. Don’t assume that whatever the HR department wants is what every person is interested in.
Set Your Goals for the Activity
Goals? For hosting a company event? Yes. Why are you doing this? Is it just to have fun? Is it to team build? If it’s just to have fun, and most of your employees have kids, make it a family-centered event. If it’s to strengthen teams, pick something that will require interaction—a city scavenger hunt, or a team sport. Taking everyone to a movie is fun, but it won’t strengthen your team.
Pick Your Time
You pay people to work, which is why they show up. They may not be so thrilled to show up for a weekend event. Remember, all non-exempt staff (that is, staff that is eligible for overtime) have to be paid to attend the event if it’s mandatory, so keep that in mind. Mandatory events also take the fun out of it. Ask your staff what they would prefer. Some groups of people love a good Friday night activity. Some people would prefer to do something during the work day.
Regardless of when you choose to do your company event, keep timing in mind. How much time do you want to spend away from the office? If you do it outside of working hours, how much time do your employees want to spend away from their family and friends? Keep it reasonable and keep everyone happy.
Hosting a successful company outing just takes listening to what your employees want and combining it with what the company needs. And don’t forget the food. Employees will forgive corny relay races and a short, dry speech by the CEO, but if you run out of pizza, they’ll never forgive you.