An HR Guide to Planning a Company Picnic - Netchex

Hosting a company picnic is a great way to encourage team-building, comradery, and overall company spirit. A relaxed day dedicated to fun and games together can encourage cross-collaboration between departments—especially for larger companies where employees may not interact with everyone regularly. Through fun, team-building events like picnics, you can show your employees that you’re invested in fostering a better company culture. 

Planning and executing these employee-centric events are often placed on the HR department. While event planning is not exactly a standard prerequisite for HR professionals , it is a terrific way for the most people-focused department to cater a company-wide event from a HR-positive perspective.  

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Why host a company picnic? 

Some people think company picnics are bit old-fashioned for today’s constantly on-the-go workforce. But maybe that’s the perfect reason why they are so great. It is a chance for everyone to slow down and have fun while also working together as company.  

Here are a few terrific reasons for HR to plan and host a company picnic: 

  • Team building 
  • Strengthens company’s culture 
  • Morale booster 
  • Keeps workers refreshed and engaged 
  • Allows the company to show appreciation for employees 
  • A great opportunity to include your employees’ families 
  • Fun, food, and games! 

Remember to create a relaxed and inclusive environment.  While it is best to have planned activities, it is best to avoid too many planned activities. People are more likely to enjoy themselves more when events are either voluntary and spread out so they can pick and choose what they want to do.  

Tips for planning a company picnic 

Here are some key to-do’s to consider when planning your company picnic.  

6-8 Months Out 

  • Decide on a budget: this will be the first task that will set the tone for all planning. Will your budget allow for an upscale venue with included amenities and easy access to outside vendors, or will you need to plan a smaller-scale picnic in a local park? 
  • Set a date: You will likely need to ensure the calendars of your Executive Team will allow for a specific date, as well as give enough notice to the rest of the company. 
  • Consider letting a pro handle It: We get it—your workload can be stressful enough as it is. If you’re unable to form an event planning team with members of your company, consider if your budget will allow you to hire a professional event planner.  
  • Book your venue: In the wake of the pandemic, the venue market has become increasingly harder to navigate as most weddings and events from 2020-2021 had to be pushed back. Booking a venue with as much advance as possible will help you avoid a crisis of not being able to find a venue at all.  It can’t hurt to have a backup plan as well, especially if weather is a threat to ruin an outdoor event. 

3-4 Months Out 

  • Get logistics locked down: Decide on a food vendor—does the venue cater, or will you have to hire an outside company? What will the entertainment look like—will you hire a DJ, what activities will you have for kids? These are important things to consider that will set the tone of the day and the employees’ experience.  
  • Consider compliance: Will you serve alcohol? If so, will you serve an open bar, or have beer only? Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to know their limits at a company event, but it’s important to have a dedicated team to keep an eye on anyone who may get out of line.  Additionally, keep accessibility issues in mind, especially if you have any employees with restrictions. 

1-2 Months Out 

  • Decide on activities: What games can you plan on that will include everyone and/or specific groups? You can plan team vs. team activities (ex: Marketing vs. IT), special activities for kids like face painting or a balloon artist. Now is the time to purchase any supplies needed for activities and/or book any entertainment needed. 
  • Plan giveaways: What’s better than food and fun? Free stuff! Consider holding a raffle or giving out special company swag. Don’t forget to include families and kids.  

It’s Here! 

  • Have fun, relax, and most importantly: NO BUSINESS TALK! That can wait for Monday. 
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