Your employees spend 40 hours a week in your office, surrounded by the same people, month after month. That's a lot of time. If you can create an environment that's enjoyable and spontaneous, you'll have happier employees who produce better work.
That's why collecting experiences is a core value my company and is something we live and swear by. We understand that the happiest employees are the ones who have the freedom and flexibility to take off work, travel, and explore. But creating that same feeling in the office can be harder. That's why we plan quarterly, monthly, and spontaneous experiences for employees to share together.
Here's are a few easy ways you can take your company culture to the next level with out-of-office events.
If you're anything like me, you prefer to spend your free time outside running or hiking, or a combination of both -- trail running. But, as the leader of a 20 person company, I understand not everyone shares my exact interests. Here's what to do:
Create a slack channel, survey, or utilize a forum to collect feedback from everyone in the company so you're inclusive of multiple perspectives. Have a lot of employees under 21? Do some of your employees not drink?
Maybe a weekly happy hour isn't the best bonding experience for your team. If your company is full of dog lovers, try planning a volunteer day at a local animal shelter to take adoptable dogs out for walks or plan a 'bring your dog to work' day.
Make it someone's job.
You might talk about ideas or ways to boost team morale, but unless it's someone's job, it's likely never going to happen. Dedicate someone's job description to cover this.
If you're a bigger company, you might have a chief people officer, head of people, or people operations to handle these events. But at smaller companies, who have employees with more shared responsibility, it can feel like everyone's job. If everyone is responsible, no one is responsible, and your fun company outings will fall off the radar. So assign it to one person, and hold them accountable for getting it done.
Create a budget.
Your budget might be tight and you may feel like you don't have a ton of extra cash lying around to blow on company events, but these outings are totally doable. Before planning any event or outing, set a budget. At my company, we keep each event to under $50 per employee for quarterly events. If you do things monthly, try to make them as free as possible, like the monthly hikes our team goes on.
Decide what is most important to your team; twice a year big events or 10-20 small monthly ones. Not everyone is into grand gestures and sometimes it's the little things, like new company swag or taking off two hours early on a Friday, that go a long way.
This seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how quickly calendars book up. If the whole point of planning these events is to bond as a team, make sure all of your employees are available and can attend before booking any event space or activity. If a couple people can't attend, they'll see the highlight reel and hear all the crazy stories of a day out they weren't part of. Bummer, right?
There's nothing worse for team culture and morale than excluding members of the company that would otherwise like to attend. So., try to plan as early in advance as possible, and get them on the calendar!
Capture the moment and savor it.
When you do fun things as a group, celebrate them and relive them. Take pictures and videos and put it somewhere that all employees or new recruits can see it. Post images on your social media channels, or include them in the newsletter roundup.
Seeing all the fun activities your company does together can help potential employees self select into your organization. It also makes for fun, lasting memories for your current employees. They'll reminisce on all the activities you've done together and make for a happier, more loyal employee.
Experiences aren't a one-player game. Involve your whole team in creating memorable outings, and watch the connections build.