Employee disengagement is notoriously high in the summer. Distractions abound. Even if an employee isn’t about to leave on vacation (or recently returned), nice weather and summer activities can distract even the most focused of employees! Now’s the time to reinvigorate your recognition program with a team-specific or all-company bonding event like a picnic.
Keep it simple with a Friday afternoon barbecue on-site, or plan a bigger party with employee families at a nearby park pavilion where everyone can enjoy volleyball and other team games, swimming, face-painting for kids, listening to music or simply getting to know each other outside of work.
However you celebrate International Picnic Day, remember it’s important for leadership to share a heartfelt employee Thank You with everyone at the gathering. A token of appreciation, like a personalized card or small gift, is a nice touch and will make your Thank You more memorable!
Read on for tips to turn your International Picnic Day celebration into a recognition success.
7 Reasons to Make Your Summer Employee Thank You Event a Picnic
The tradition of the company picnic took a hit during the recession as companies tightened the strings on their engagement budgets, according to an SHRM employee benefits report.
Now, as the recession fades to history, SHRM found that the company picnic is one of the first workplace perks executives are reinvesting in.
Here’s why a picnic is your best bet for a summer employee Thank You event:
1. It’s a low-pressure social occasion.
Social events outside of work are best when they’re optional and don’t put a lot of pressure on employees, according to Inc. contributing editor Jeff Haden. He recommends picnics because they work for a broad range of employees and can easily be structured to include families. For employees who can’t attend or wish to opt out, don’t forget to share a Thank You gift and a nice note of appreciation. (Once they hear from coworkers how fun the company picnic was, they’ll want to come next year!)
2. It’s an experience to share.
As the company picnic enjoys a post-recession comeback, it’s getting “a refreshing makeover” as an experience for employees to enjoy, according to Catering Connection: “What we’ve found is that employee recognition events such as these have also taken on a life all of their own and companies want to provide an ‘experience’ for their employees.” A scavenger hunt, hay rides and country line-dancing lessons are examples of fun ways to add to the picnic experience.
Another option this year: International Picnic Day coincides with World Juggling Day, so invite a juggler to perform at your picnic and teach everyone simple juggling tricks!
3. It builds workplace camaraderie.
A picnic disrupts the social routine of employees who don’t always have the opportunity or time to interact at work. “Company picnics are a great way to foster a spirit of camaraderie among employees so they can better know the kinds of people they are dealing with and learn the right and proper way to deal with them,” according to a Dodge County Fairgrounds blog post.
4. It reduces workplace stress.
Getting outdoors in nature is a major stress-reliever and health booster, according to Prevention Magazine. If your employees are typically cooped up indoors under fluorescent lights all summer, change-up the pace and invite them outdoors to picnic! Even taking your weekly lunch meeting to a picnic bench at a nearby park will give employees some much-needed time in nature.
5. It shows support for employee families.
At a picnic, it’s easy to include kids in activities and make families feel welcome! Hosting a family-friendly picnic sends a strong message of inclusion to employees that their partners and children are valued members of the “company family.” Parents who may otherwise skip the usual after-work happy hours because of childcare responsibilities will appreciate a company event they can attend with kids.
6. It’s the perfect place to share good news!
Picnics bring everyone at the company together in one place — so it’s the perfect occasion to announce exciting news and recognize employee achievements. Did your company just launch a new product or surpass a sales goal? Share the news and capitalize on the opportunity to thank everyone in person for making it possible!
7. It inspires workplace gratitude.
Paul Spiegelman, Chief Culture Officer of Stericycle, was blown away by the spirit of gratitude at a company picnic he attended: “The appreciation I witness from all employees who attend these events is heartwarming and affirms our purpose. They know we don’t have to do it, and are thankful. And that encourages employee loyalty and continued hard work,” he wrote in an Inc. column.
Say Thank You Every Day of the Year!
The best employee recognition programs turn every day into a celebration, so don’t stop at International Picnic Day!
Download our FREE Day-to-Day Celebration Calendar for expert tips on engaging, recognizing and building a happy and loyal workplace every day of the year. This one-of-a-kind eBook will help you build everyday workplace spirit with month-by-month guides, case studies, research highlights, how-to recognition advice and celebration ideas for specific holidays and anytime.
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