Learn more about the processes, initiatives and habits of enterprise businesses, and how you can adopt those processes to help your business run better.
The long, warm days of summer invite celebrations and outdoor events. Why not add a company outing to the season’s lineup?
Get-togethers are great for helping people focus on what the business is all about, commit their efforts, and connect with one another. While big companies might opt for elaborate picnics or retreats at resort hotels, any off-site gathering can be valuable and doable.
By scaling down or adapting ideas used by larger enterprises, even the smallest team can reap the benefits—no planning divisions or deep pockets required. Here are some ideas to get the ball moving.
Think beyond the picnic.
There’s nothing wrong with a tried and true picnic in a nice park. Survey employees to see if that’s what they want. If so, consider spicing up the event with catered food, a friendly sports game, or team-building activities. Hundreds can be found online, including this epic list of great team-building games.
If a picnic sounds boring or buggy, consider taking the gang out for bowling or miniature golf, a meal at a nice restaurant, or a scavenger hunt in your city. Throw a party at your business after hours. Creating fun and camaraderie doesn’t have to be difficult.
Get away from it all, even on a shoestring budget.
It’s easy to dismiss the overnight option as too much trouble and expense. But services such as Airbnb can dramatically reduce the cost of accommodations. Entrepreneurs surveyed by Inc. magazine suggest renting a house in a nearby rustic area, easily accessible by car. Assigning people to shopping, cooking, and cleaning duties can cut expenses even further.
Don’t forget to balance fun with work. “If people only had fun, they’ll talk about it, but it won’t have a lasting impact on your company. And if they only did work, they’ll think the retreat was a waste of a trip,” advises Brandon Bruce, a software company co-founder.
Tour competing establishments.
For the perfect melding of business and pleasure, consider taking employees out for a tasting tour of the competition, whether frozen yogurt shops or Thai restaurants or bars. Place small orders at each, evaluating the fare, taking in the ambience, and checking out the service. Bring back three ideas for making improvements at your own place of business.
Do group volunteer gigs—and capture millennial hearts.
As a variation on an old saying, the team that volunteers together, stays together. By chipping in to help a worthy cause, employees forge bonds while rallying around a mission—especially important to millennials, who are more likely to stay with businesses that align with their values.
In fact, “doing good” is baked into young people’s DNA. The 2016 Millennial Impact Report found that 46% had volunteered for a social cause and 52% had donated to a cause in the past month alone! Tap that charitable spirit, and small business owners will gain their commitment as well.
Focus on the positive.
What does the business or brand stand for? What core values permeate the workplace? Caring, trust, quality, or just adding joy to people’s lives? Turn those ideals into the theme of your retreat or get-together.
Alternatively, small business owners can use the event to highlight their gratitude to a hard-working team. For part-timers in particular, being recognized for excellent work—most punctual, highest accuracy rate—can mean a great deal. Well-considered gifts make nice tokens of thanks, while signaling which behaviors are most important to the business.
Whether it’s a meal out, a fun activity, or an overnight retreat, make summer a time to remember for the whole gang.[image: Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge by Nicholas A. Tonelli on flickr]
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