The company summer picnic – first cousin to the company holiday party – may not be the first thing you look forward to when making your summer plans. But maybe it should be. The summer picnic is an opportunity for your organization to come together mid-way through the calendar year to celebrate and have fun with colleagues you may not see quite as often as you like.
For instance, as an HR Business Partner with Helios HR, I am on various client sites throughout the week and don’t always get see my colleagues in person on a day-to-day basis. Without a “water cooler” to congregate around on the regular, it requires more effort to establish and maintain strong bonds with my colleagues. I know a lot of my clients have similar challenges, that’s why the company summer picnic is a must-do event because it allows employees to connect on a deeper level with their associates in a fun, casual setting. Below are four reasons your company summer picnic still matters and why you should make every effort to attend.
Best Reasons to Still Throw a Company Summer Picnic
1. Relax with your Colleagues – The Monday through Friday workweek can be stressful and at times, exhausting. The company summer picnic is an opportunity for your team, as a whole, to let its collective hair down, take a break from their big project and simply enjoy the summer weather together in an environment that encourages everyone to create lasting memories that are full of laughter, smiles and sunshine.
2. Enjoy a Change of Scenery – While summer picnics are traditionally held at a local park, there are some great avenues other than the traditional setting. Some organizations, including Helios HR, have gone to concerts, sporting events or amusement parks. Regardless of the venue, finding a way for your employees to simply have fun and enjoy each other’s company in neutral location is what your organization should be striving for when scouting for a venue.
3. Team-Building & Networking – Depending on the size of your organization, not all employees may have a chance to connect with each other every day. The summer picnic allows colleagues who are dispersed in a given region or even nationally in some instances, to come together and formally meet and learn more about one another. This also means having the opportunity to connect with senior level managers or junior associates and speak with them in a neutral environment. This can be advantageous for two reasons: 1) You can learn about a new project or initiative that is up and coming; 2) Having the chance to showcase what you are working on directly with a leader who may not normally be easily accessible during normal business hours. Showcasing what you are working on may facilitate additional discussions as to how your role can expand with the organization.
4. Show your Appreciation for your Employees – One of the best ways for your senior leadership team to show its appreciation for its employees is to sponsor a get-together where people can have a meal and connect outside of work. The picnic doesn’t have to be any more complicated than having cold drinks, simple foods like hamburgers and hotdogs, and good music. In an age when we are continually trying to keep up with the latest trends, sometimes less is more and is just as effective in accomplishing the goal of thanking your employees. Remember, thanking your employees is one of the reasons you are getting together. Not to brag, compete or one-up a competitor’s summer picnic.
The true value in summer picnics is in the connection-building opportunities they provide. In the modern day work environment, our work encompasses the use of ad-hoc teams compared to formal hierarchical structures. Since we rely on colleagues for support, information and help a picnic is the perfect opportunity to develop a larger social network. Teamwork and actually work in general, becomes much easier when you have formally met and gotten to know the person you are working with. So plan your summer picnic, attend the event and remember – have FUN while you are there! You never know what connections you will make and what those connections will mean to you in the future.