The sun was shining, the grills were fired up, the music playing and hundreds of employees came out to enjoy a company organized picnic.  I am happy to report the Company Picnic has made a comeback and with good reason.  Bringing people together in a social setting like a picnic is a great way to encourage the bonds between team members, celebrate their great work and have fun.

One of my executive coaching clients decided to host a first annual picnic for his division this summer.  He had been with the organization for five months and felt the timing was right for a social event that could bring the 800 people in his division together.  He’d previously met with many of the departments and employees during his first few months to help build relationships and he wanted to encourage connection between team members as well.  It is important to this leader to get to know the people working in his division and for them to get to know each other.  During the entire event he moved from group to group saying hello and interacting with people.  He wanted all the employees to know he values and respects their work and that he cares about them as people.

A social gathering is a simple way to build engagement and commitment, yet many leaders and businesses have cut such events from their budgets.  This of course is short-sighted as social networks are developed at such events that make effective teamwork much easier.  This helps shape a high performance culture where results are achieved.  Isn’t that what every leader wants?

This type of event shows employees that they are cared for and supported.  It allows time for people to build connections and to learn new things about each other.  It can also help bring down the walls or silos that exist across departments and encourage department integration and collaboration.  When people feel appreciated and cared for they will stay with the organization so employee turnover and the associated costs are lower too.

And let’s not forget – it’s fun!  Who doesn’t want to drench their coworker with a water balloon.

If you want your employees to be more engaged and committed,  grill up some burgers, play some games and let your employees know their hard work and dedication is appreciated.

If you have a story about a company picnic, please share it with us in the comments section.

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