5 Ways to Make Your Outings Memorable

by Sydney Phillips and Sam Smith  on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 12:00 am  

Think back for a moment to your last company outing or retreat. The sound of a squeaky golf cart tire fills your ears. Your fingers grope for the clammy inside of a bowling ball.

While golfing and bowling are fun activities in their own right, if either of these memories ring true for your last company outing, it may be time to step it up a notch and host a memorable and valuable event that benefits your company and employees long after it’s over.

Make it fun.

Jeanie Reed, owner of Little Rock-based Special Project Services, plans events and retreats for companies throughout the state. She said the event she remembers best is a carnival-themed appreciation day for a local bank’s employees and their families.

“The event included carnival games with prizes, rides, food and a full day of fun,” she said.

Instead of the usual company picnic, raise the fun factor by adding a unique theme or location. Making it family-friendly will let everyone mingle and get to know each other, breaking down the walls of titles and ranks and helping build more meaningful relationships.

“The employees appeared very grateful for such a fun event,” Reed said. “It was a great time to be together outside of the work environment.”

Make it worthwhile.

Beyond the fun and engaging activities should be a goal that benefits everyone. Think about different challenges an outing can help address.

If much of your staff telecommutes or works in offices separated geographically, a little face time can go a long way toward promoting unity and a lasting sense of teamwork. If you’re in a high-stress environment, integrate a relaxation element to keep outlooks bright and productivity high.

The bottom line? Attendees should leave with something they didn’t have before.

“People don’t care what entrée they eat or what the meeting room looks like,” said Krista Debuhr, owner of Fayetteville-based event planning service Snerq Productions. “They remember what they learned and how it impacts their life.”



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