In 1961, the Disney Company released the movie The Parent Trap. The story revolves around a pair of identical twins separated at birth. Mother raises one girl, and Father raises the other. Meeting each other at summer camp, they discover their history and resolve to “trap” their parents into reconciliation. Madcap fun and shenanigans ensue followed by a happy ending for all (1998 saw the release of a remake, but purists dismiss it as derivative). For many employees living through the recent pandemic, the feelings of separation are all too real. Remote working, Zoom calling, socially isolating – mental health professionals are just beginning to assess the changes to society and culture. Regardless of your business paradigm, one thing experts do agree about is the need for employees to spend some amount of the work week collaboratively. Employee events can be a terrific way to start the process of bringing everyone together. In fact, planned employee events can also be a great way to support HR policies and strategies.
THE COMPANY PICNIC
Tried and true, the Company Picnic has been the go-to event for businesses and their employees. Advantages of the classic picnic:
- People who may have health concerns about indoor events will likely feel more comfortable in an outdoor setting.
- Outdoor space. Companies can use the space around their own locations or can use parks and green spaces in their communities. Either way, there are usually no rental fees required.
- Food. The classic picnic fare is simple and easy to supply. However, partly due to the pandemic, more restaurants than ever offer catering. It’s now possible to offer a wide variety of food choices for your employees.
- Games and activities. Cheesy though it may be, planning a range of games and activities for your employees allows for a light and casual experience. The picnic is a day for employees to put aside the pressures of their individual jobs and share light moments with each other and their families. In fact, it may be a way for employees who struggle to find common ground to relax a bit and experience positive interaction.
- Space. Outdoor space may not be easily accessible in some areas, and outdoor space is seasonal. A way around this challenge could be to host a picnic inside – counsel employees to dress casually, bring their families, and provide picnic fare, and you can still create a lighthearted event.
- Geography. Remote working. It’s the complication of the 21st-century world of work. Some or all of your employees may not be in the same city, let alone the same state. You could host a “virtual” picnic – give employees an allowance to purchase food and put everyone on a Zoom call while they interact in their own backyards, but we all know it’s not even close to being the same as an in-person event.
Teams are built through shared experiences. Classic team-building events often involve subjecting employees to some sort of shared challenge, but sometimes these challenges rely too much on physical agility and not enough on basic camaraderie. The good news is that aside from physical challenges, the right team-building events can work very well on remote platforms. Here are just a few virtual ideas:
- Bingo. Yes. Believe it or not, there are bingo card generators that you can use to fill cards with some of the most common comments heard on Zoom calls, like “Can you hear me?” “Is everyone’s mic on mute?” “Sorry, my dog is barking at the neighbor’s dog.” The first one to fill in a card wins.
- Scavenger Hunt. Give employees a list of common items found in the home and crown the winner who rounds them up first.
- Escape Room. Again, yes. There are companies that offer virtual escape rooms that employees can use to work together to solve the puzzles and riddles within.
- Food. Since the assumption is that the events are taking place virtually, you could give employees an allowance to purchase a meal to enjoy during the activities.
The virtual team-building event is meant to be a chance to build rapport. Plan an event that gives your employees a chance to engage and communicate in non-threatening ways and everyone will be stronger for it.
HR POLICIES AND STRATEGIES
Human Resources is the unsung hero of larger corporations. These are the employees who make sure that employee benefits and policies are properly administered saving employers money and complications over time. However, it has to be said that informing employees of policies and procedures can be a bit, mmm, dry. What about planning an event around quarterly or yearly compliance requirements? Off-site, casual, good food – employees will feel valued as they appreciate the effort needed to coordinate such an event. And again, it’s a chance to give employees time to interact.
So as Hayley Mills sang so memorably in The Parent Trap – “Let’s Get Together, Yah, Yah, Yah.” Many businesses already have a set schedule of events they invest in for their clients and customers, yet it is worth remembering that on a day-to-day basis your clients and customers interact with your employees, so make sure those employees know their value. Remember. Nine88 Events is here to partner with you and plan great events for your customers and employees alike. Contact us today!