Host an employee thank you party!

July is National Picnic Month – making this the perfect time to throw a summer employee thank you party! (Photo via usembassyta, Flickr)

July is the ideal time to throw an employee thank you party (and not just because it’s National Picnic Month). The key to making your company event genuinely fun so it generates both good times and goodwill is your authentic appreciation.  By clearly communicating a message of employee appreciation and making employees feel valued, you’ll promote happiness and loyalty. Both keys to a successful workplace culture.

Why Summer Parties Rock

In a blog post on Special Events’ website about why Fortune 500 companies are opting to host summer parties, Nicole Lavin points out:

Companies are recognizing that their employees’ hard work should be celebrated all year-long–and they’re hosting exciting summer events to prove it…
With a “Christmas in July” mind-set, companies are planning off-site corporate events to get their employees out of the office during the hottest time of the year. By hosting corporate events in July and August, companies can enhance employees’ year-round satisfaction and, in turn, increase employee retention.

Three Reasons To Host an Employee Thank You Party this Summer

The Baltimore Post-Examiner lists three reasons why summer’s the right time to celebrate your employees.

  1. A Year is Too Long – having a party every 12 months is too infrequent, especially since stress levels tend to build throughout the year and convening as a team to have fun can be so important to employees.
  2. You Can Make it Tax Deductible – you don’t need to break the bank and the staff party can be tax deductible.
  3. The Summer is Less Hectic – so much is happening during the winter holidays like hosting relatives and traveling, not to mention gifts to buy and meals to prepare, so having employees carve out time then can be a bit stressful – summer offers more flexibility and a slower pace.

The article concludes with these wise words:

… there isn’t much of a reason for not having a summer employee party. You can deduct it from your taxes, and any productivity lost will be regained through added morale. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Summertime Fun + Gratitude = Happy Employees

Adding a healthy dose of employee recognition to your party will make it more meaningful. Make your employee gratitude public and universal so everyone feels the company love.
Thoughts to consider:

  • Make it all family
    Some companies host winter holiday parties that are only for employees, not their employees’ spouses or children.  Opening up summer parties to include family members shows that you are aware of the importance of work-life balance.  Being more inclusive with your guest list will be appreciated by your staff and their guests.If you do include kids, consider hiring people to help supervise activities for children.  That way adults can mingle and not feel that they have to hover over their kids the entire time.


  • Involve employees in the planning
    Your employees may also appreciate being involved in the planning.  Think about forming a committee to brainstorm about, and then plan the party.  Or do a simple poll to identify the top activities or venues. Engaging employees on how they want to be appreciated helps build important bonds.


  • Consider sharing a small gift or announcing a new workplace benefit
    In an article on the merits of summer company parties, Undercover Recruiter suggests recognition gifts for consideration.Keep it affordable and handout different colored bandana’s for team games or a summer-inspired party favors. If you can swing a workplace investment or change in policy that benefits employees, announce it at the party. Everyone will love hearing about a new workplace fitness facility or the introduction of half-day Fridays for the summer.


  • Make it fun!
    Bigger budget? Fishing or boat outings, zoos, museums, botanical gardens, amusement parks are all popular for parties.Or perhaps if you do an event during the work week you might be able to get a good deal on a wedding barn rental.If you’re on a smaller budget, simply renting a park shelter and offering cornhole, badminton, water balloons and arts and crafts are all undeniably fun, simple and won’t break the bank.
    Hard to get away from the work site? Arrange for a variety of food trucks to staff your informal workplace event. Or schedule a visit from the ice cream truck at the end of a long work week will boost spirits and show employees you appreciate their efforts.
    (Be sure to have a have a Plan B for unpredictable summer weather that could potentially derail your party or picnic – a back-up rain date or a quick venue back-up to bowling, renting a movie theater, escape rooms, etc.)


  • Make sure management hosts the party
    Maybe it goes without saying, but if you want a memorable employee thank you party, management needs to be involved, welcome attendees and host the party. If it’s an HR party and Senior Management is missing in action or just as bad, attending and not mingling, it won’t send the message of “we’re glad you are part of our team” and despite all the efforts won’t improve employee satisfaction.


Need More Some Inspiration for a Theme?

There’s nothing wrong with the classic summer BBQ, but if you’re looking for something new, Tasty Catering a catering company based in Chicago, has lots of fun theme ideas for company picnics.
In addition to their list of creative themes for summer parties, Tasty Catering also provides a checklist so you can make sure you’re on a reasonable timeline and not forgetting any key components.
Or, show employees you care about their health by creating a picnic that offers healthier fare and activities.  Total Wellness offers suggestions, recipes and even a handy online toolkit.

Free Resource: Your Day-to-Day Employee Engagement Calendar

Looking for easy ways to thank employees year-round? Check out our 2022 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar! This one-of-a-kind resource gives you the tools and inspiration to build a culture of appreciation every day of the year. Download yours today, absolutely free.

“In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru, coach and author

Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar

Learn More About gThankYou Certificates of Gratitude:

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Gift Certificates

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How gThankYou Certificates Work

Step 1

Order Certificates

Choose the gThankYou Certificates you want and order them online or by telephone.

Step 2

Ship directly to your business

Your order is delivered by UPS. Nearly all orders ship the day received. Overnight shipping is available.

Step 3

Distribute to your employees

Personalize your gThankYou Certificates with Giver name or logo (both optional) and give them to employees.

Step 4

Redeem at any grocery store

Recipients redeem Certificates at major U.S. grocery stores and select the items they want.