Katlyn Graham: Hello, I’m Katlyn Graham here with Maureen Woodman, the Director of Sales at Woodman’s.
Today, we’re discussing how to boost morale at your company. These days, the economy is struggling. We’ve been going through some tough times. It’s really important to boost morale at your company.
Maureen, what happened to corporate summer outings?
Maureen Woodman: I think one of the biggest things that changed after the economy, probably in 2008, October, when that crash came, that the boss just panicked. I think the entire 2000s were just up, down, in and out.
The boss had to figure out, somehow, how to keep the company fluid, number one, and how to keep things where you weren’t giving away money you just couldn’t count on.
I really think everyone was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Things tightened up. The summer party was out. The Christmas party was out. The bonus was out. Everything was out.
Now, if you look at today’s stock market, everything is booming. I think the boss is relooking at things saying, “How can I give back to these people that have been giving to me for the last six years, through this economic boom?” if that’s what we’re going to call it, at least on the stock market.
Somehow, they have to give back. The difficulty now is, “Do I give it to them in the form of a party, or do I give it to them in a form of a bonus?”
Katlyn: Big question. Why would companies or a CEO have a catered summer party? What’s the allure of having a party instead of that bonus?
Maureen: I think, right now, that you want to get that feeling of team back into your company. This is a very big theme that’s going on right now.
If at the top the boss is looking at it that, “I have to run this place as a team,” I think that he’s trying to choose where they’re together at the party as opposed to an individual bonus, which is not something that is team oriented.
That is probably the direction, the struggle. I still think there may be a chance where the employee is struggling with his own financial situation. He may rather have the bonus than give up a possible day off with his family.
Katlyn: That’s very true. But I hear what you’re saying about at a party, the whole team comes together and can bond. Let’s say a CEO decides, “I’m going to have a corporate summer party.” What kind of food should be served?
Maureen: I think, again, anything that we offer in our catering division. Now that we have the corporate chef, we can do both kinds of
It lets the boss start to introduce the party a little slower than the heyday of 2000 and 2001. Where they can bring it in, and not look too, too much money, because then I think that also can give a funny connotation to the help, like “How come you’re spending all this money all of a sudden?” I think you just go back to the simple things in life.foods. We can do fun, fancy food. We can do the traditional clambake. We can also do the traditional BBQ, which is a little less costly for some of these company parties.
It could be hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage, pepper, onion, corn on the cob, maybe some of the new whoopee pies, or the ice cream wagon, and just get that feel‑good get‑together where the boss is saying, “Thank you.”
Katlyn: That was good. My goodness. What day should the party be on? Traditionally, a lot of these parties were on the weekend, which some employees might not have liked. What do you recommend?
Maureen: Absolutely, that is definitely a change that I’ve seen in the last two summers, and I’m assuming we’re going to see it this summer, as well. Saturdays and Sundays‑‑I think I read an article not too long ago‑‑that most people actually have a second job, which I find really interesting.
To go to the old day, and give up a Saturday, expect your help to come in, lose that day with their family, or mowing the lawn, or doing the laundry, or going food shopping, or visiting family, or whatever they have to do. I think you’re better to have the party on a Monday through Thursday. I wouldn’t even do it on a Friday, because people seem to be very busy on Fridays with their family, as well.
I also think this would be very respectful that the boss is identifying the family time of his employees, and I would have that party, probably at lunch on a Thursday, maybe a Wednesday. Where you would be paying your help, because it would still be on your clock‑‑on your time.
Have the party. Do some good morale boosting, and then maybe they go home early that day, or they go back to work, and the day ends at 5:00, if that’s what needed.
Katlyn: It sounds like a good plan, especially the getting paid part. I’m sure a lot of employees would appreciate their time at the party. Any other tips you have for throwing a corporate party, Maureen?
Maureen: I think one of the easiest things for a corporate party would be‑‑usually what happens, if it’s a larger company‑‑the girls will have a committee, or the gentlemen, depending on who’s working there. They will call the office. I would request two or three different menu choices, two or three price ranges.
Then, usually, the committee would go in front of, most likely, the boss’s secretary, have another meeting, make a choice on the menu or the budget, however you have to do it.
I would go easy. Like I said, I would ease into this easily, like it was probably in the ’70s and the ’80s, when it really was just a fun get‑together where people could relax in their work environment but enjoy themselves.
Katlyn: Because you have got to have fun to be productive, right?
Katlyn: Thank you, Maureen, so much for joining us today.
Maureen: Thanks, Katlyn.
Katlyn: Hopefully, there will be some fun corporate outings this summer.