Published Date: 04/28/2014
By Reneé Watkins
It appears that Spring has finally arrived, after what seemed to be a never-ending Winter! Springtime naturally encourages us to want to be outside more, recreating with friends and family for some much needed downtime away from our average workday.
This is typically the time of year when it falls on HR to begin planning activities such as “Employee Appreciation Day,” “Family Fun Day” or “Annual Company Carnival.” These types of events may occur distinctly outside the confines of the physical workspace, but there are still pitfalls to avoid and corporate policies to be adhered to in order to have a successful and memorable event.
Below are a few thoughts and suggestions that should be kept in mind when planning:
- Although employee participation in these events is encouraged and welcomed, make sure any communication about an event (notices, emails, etc.) specifies that attendance is not mandatory.
- If possible, consider hosting your event at a location that is not on corporate property. By doing so, you send a more distinct message that this event is more social than business related. It creates a more relaxed and comfortable setting.
- Similarly, if the budget allows, be sure to include family members. Significant others, children and parents give you an opportunity to say “thank you” to those who support your employee outside the workplace. Due to budget, you may have to set some ground rules on the number of family members each employee can bring.
- Companies will often plan events (ball games, cookouts, etc.) to cater to loyal customers or clients as a way of saying “thank you.” Inclusion of client families is a nice touch here as well. This type of event does however have a “business” air about it, and employees will not be able to relax quite as easily. Most companies do not combine “client” events and “employee” events.
- Due to liability concerns, consider non-alcoholic beverages only. If you decide to offer alcoholic beverages, use a ticket system where each person is provided a finite number of drink tickets (usually two) to limit consumption by any one person. Also, make sure attendees are being “served” and are not allowed to pour their own drinks.
- When planning activities for the events, poll your employees to ask for their input so you have a wide variety of items that appeal to the majority of those attending. If families are to be included, make sure you have plenty for the children to participate in. Since you will be outside, have areas set up for shade and plenty of water stations.
- Any claims of inappropriate behavior or injury should be investigated immediately and acted upon as necessary.