Some people love it and some hate it: the annual corporate picnic. Following these five tips, you can create a fun, memorable event that will satisfy even the most steadfast naysayer.
1. Understand from the outset that some people do not enjoy the outdoors
From allergies to introverts, some workers shy away from the corporate picnic with their own good reason. Recognize and respect this. Incorporate into your master plan some way for these folks to participate without feeling miserable. Promote this upfront and you’ll increase attendance. Look for a venue that offers inside options and offer a chess or ping-pong tournament.
2. Order a range of menu items based on employee tastes, not your own
When working with your caterer, order food items that will please your attendees (and your bosses). Make sure there’s a wide range of choices to satisfy palates and food concerns, including allergies and lifestyle choices. Request information from your attendees through the invitation and communication process.
3. Anticipate problems
Often corporate picnics become the responsibility of a person who has never planned an event before. Do your research and make a list of possible things that could go wrong, such as the following:
- The weather (e.g., rain, excessive heat)
- Injuries on the playing field
- Disagreements between attendees
- Insects or other animals
- Overflowing toilets
Include contingency options in your overall planning.
4. Arrange for a photographer or videographer
Hire or dub someone the official photographer/videographer. You’ll have plenty to do during the event without having to be the roving reporter. Photos and videos can be great additions to the event or internal corporate website.
5. Announce contests and offer meaningful prizes
Contests can range from indoor activities to food consumption (like the ever-popular watermelon or pie-eating contest) to field games (such as volley ball or softball, three-legged races, relay races, etc.). Consider prizes that are meaningful to your attendees. For instance, gift cards to coffee establishments or wine shops, or even the corporate cafeteria if you have one, can prove valuable. But how about a feature in the corporate magazine or website? A lunch with the executives?
Bonus: Organize committees
Any corporate worker can recognize that going it alone may look great on a resume but can be overwhelming on the job. The savvy event planner organizes committees for a corporate picnic. These can include:
- Communications (e.g., invitations, promotional emails, websites)
- Attendance (e.g., RSVPs and communicating headcount to the Food and other committees)
Each of these can offer participants visibility to the higher-ups and an opportunity to work together on a fun event.
Work with your caterer to select the venue and options for your best corporate picnic ever!