Company culture and employee dynamics can make or break a company. This is why organizations are increasingly putting emphasis on creating a work environment where their staff can thrive.
There are many different ways to make this happen, including flexible work, good benefits and professional development opportunities. That said, when it comes to building a good team, the focus must be placed on something other than individual perks and benefits. This is where a social committee comes in.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the fundamentals of a social committee and provide you with some winning ideas for your next work event!
A social committee consists of a group of employees responsible for organizing fun social events and gatherings at work. What is great about this is that a social committee is run by staff members for staff members, which provides more autonomy and ownership over social initiatives at work.
There are numerous benefits that come with a social committee. For starters, its main objective is to bring people together and build rapport within your team. Furthermore, it can promote a more positive social environment within your organization and can improve the overall wellbeing of staff members.
This, ultimately, can lead to an improved company culture and higher retention rates, something which has been an ongoing struggle for many companies across the US as employee turnover has surged over the years. Therefore, with the help of your social committee, your company can improve the engagement and team dynamics of its workforce.
Setting up a social committee is a straightforward process. The following steps will help you get started:
1. Put out a call for committee members
First things first, you must put out a call and start recruiting people for the committee. Make sure to outline the key responsibilities and duties within this call so those interested know what will be expected of them. During the selection process, it’s important to enlist people who are enthusiastic and willing to take initiative, as this is a voluntary role that could require additional hours on their part.
2. Prioritize inclusivity
If you want your social committee to succeed, then ensure that there are representatives from all departments and across all levels. This will allow for a more inclusive and cohesive group to be formed, which also represents all parts of your organization.
3. Create a solid plan
It’s important to figure out the technical aspects and workings of the social committee. For example, different roles could be allocated to each social committee member. So, while all will be involved in the brainstorming and decision-making process, everyone has clear duties and responsibilities during the planning and execution of a social event.
You must also decide how often, when and where committee meetings will be held in advance so that all members can make time for them within their schedules. Additionally, you must determine how often social committee members will rotate. For example, each member could be part of the committee for six months before a new rotation.
4. Allocate a budget
Before your social committee can proceed with the planning of activities, they must be made aware of the financial resources that are available to them. Having a clear budget will help the social committee stay in line and put together successful events that won’t break the bank.
Furthermore, company policies should also be communicated clearly; for example, the types of events that will be covered by this budget (ie: on-site vs off-site). This will prevent any misunderstanding and set clear parameters for what costs the company will take on.
5. Get feedback
The final step is for the social committee to start planning upcoming events. As already mentioned, this process needs to be as inclusive as possible and this also means gathering feedback from all employees to build events that they would be genuinely interested in.
A good way to go about this is to set up a survey or a digital suggestions box for all employees. From there on, the social committee can create a list of possible activities that they can organize in the future based on the input they receive from their colleagues.
When it comes to social events and activities, there are countless options to choose from. The following list will help your social committee get started!
Drawing inspiration from the all-time classic show The Great British Bake-Off, you could host your very own baking competition in the office.
Depending on the available equipment, people could either pre-make treats at home or at the office, where people will taste-test their creations and vote for their favorites. You could introduce different categories that people could compete for to make things more interesting, such as pies, tray bakes and cakes.
2. Potluck lunches
Similar to a bake-off, minus the competitive edge, a potluck lunch is a great way to bring everyone together during office hours by sharing a meal.
The planning should be quite simple: everyone is invited to make their favorite dish so the committee can put together a colorful spread of lunch options for everyone to share. You could also put together a menu in advance so people know what to expect.
Just make sure to take into consideration people with food allergies and requirements to ensure that everyone is catered to.
3. Sports teams
Social committees do not necessarily have to plan just one-off events. You could also introduce different teams and clubs based on people’s interests, which can take place outside office hours. For example, you could put together teams for different group sports such as soccer, basketball and volleyball.
People could join in, form teams based on skill level, and meet at pre-agreed spots every week to play together. This is a brilliant way to encourage camaraderie and team spirit among colleagues across all departments.
4. Wine tasting
If you have some wine connoisseurs in the office, then why not plan a day trip to a vineyard where they can enjoy a nice glass of cabernet sauvignon?
Whether this is a company-wide event or a small group tasting will depend on the number of those interested to partake, but this is a nice way for your team to unwind and enjoy quality time together beyond the confines of the office.
5. Fundraising events
Fundraising and charity initiatives are always a surefire way to get people involved.
There are numerous ways to raise funds for important causes, including marathon sponsorships, raffles, bake sales and silent auctions. This will be an excellent way to strengthen your team’s bond, as they will be working towards a common goal and contributing to a shared cause.
6. Scavenger hunt
If you want creative ways to socialize your team, then a scavenger hunt or treasure hunt are pretty good options. The premise of this game is simple: you split everyone into teams and give them different clues that will lead them to different hidden items around an outdoor area. The first team to collect all items wins.
There are a lot of step-by-step guides to help your social committee put a scavenger hunt together from scratch, but there are also professional team-building companies that can do it for you and guarantee a smoother process. If you have a remote workforce, then you could opt for a virtual scavenger hunt.
7. Board game night
Board game nights are easy to plan and always fun to attend.
People could bring their favorite board games, and the social committee could set up different spots for each. You could also have departments compete against each other to inspire team spirit and friendly competition among them.
8. Team-building retreats
While social events can indirectly inspire team-building among staff, team-building retreats are specifically designed to help your workforce form stronger ties.
A retreat usually lasts two to three days and consists of a variety of icebreakers, games and exercises that help participants build trust, outline common goals and resolve any tension amongst themselves. This can be incredibly beneficial for any team, regardless size or industry.
9. Book club
As already mentioned, your social committee could organize a variety of recruiting activities based on employee interests. One such activity could be a book club where participants have biweekly meetups at a local coffee shop after work and discuss their selected read.
This is a low-effort initiative that could bring people from different departments together and help them bond over their favorite books.
10. Cooking classes
Culinary workshops bring people together and can be a very fun way to get to know your colleagues in a different context. Cooking classes usually entail hiring a professional chef or cooking instructor to teach your group a specific recipe or technique.
When organizing such an activity, it is important to keep in mind participants’ dietary preferences. There is also the option to offer this activity online, making it a great activity for virtual teams too!
11. Themed parties
This might require a more substantial budget, as it is a larger event that involves venue hire, entertainment, decorations and catering. However, this could be a night to remember and a lovely way to reward your employees.
12. Hiking and walking club
For the outdoorsy members of your team, a hiking and walking club could be another recurring activity set forth by the social committee. Members could create a list of nature trails, hiking paths and mountain peaks they would like to visit and agree on a few dates when they can meet to hike together.
To be more inclusive and encourage participation from everyone, the club could choose routes with different difficulty levels to accommodate those who might want a more relaxed nature walk rather than a challenging hike.
Why not help your team bond while also doing some good deeds? The social committee could invite colleagues to take part in volunteering opportunities across your town by choosing a cause they care about.
One group could volunteer at an animal shelter, another could help out at a community kitchen, and another could partake in a beach cleanup. There could be different causes available for each volunteer day, or people could rotate their groups so they can be part of different volunteer groups.
Go-karting is a popular workplace outing, and for good reason. Not only will it break the monotony of office routine, but it also makes a fun and lighthearted competition among staff. Plus, this should be an easy activity for the social committee to plan, too.
15. Desk-decorating contest
Desk-decorating contests are not only fun but can boost team morale around the office during the festive season too. The social committee could invite everyone to demonstrate their holiday spirit by decking out their workspaces for a chance to win an award.
To keep things interesting, they could also outline different award categories such as “Most Original Design”, “Most Festive” and “Best Overall”.
16. Picnic day
Who doesn’t love a picnic? Top it off with a barbecue station, some music and games, and you’re guaranteed a fun day out with your office team. While this activity might require some more meticulous planning and budgeting on the social committee’s part, it is definitely a winner.
17. Escape room
Escape rooms are always an enjoyable and exciting way to encourage teamwork among staff. You could create cross-departmental teams or have each department compete against each other to encourage camaraderie among your workforce. Participants will have to work together to solve the puzzles and clues within the escape room before they run out of time.
18. Mental health day
Over the past few years, mental health among workers has been in an increasing decline. According to a recent study, 66% of respondents experienced mental health issues due to their work, while 58% felt mentally unsafe in their workplace.
While companies must take big steps to address this mental health crisis among their workforce via policies and structural changes that will benefit their staff, the social committee could also contribute to this cause by organizing a mental health day that is dedicated to raising awareness. Experts could be brought in to deliver workshops and offer useful tips concerning mental health, both to upper management and staff members.
19. Festivals and concerts
Another great way to bring people together via the help of the social committee is to organize group outings to festivals and concerts. This is a great activity to help people socialize and get to know each other in an exciting setting.
20. Outdoor cinema
Outdoor cinemas are usually a big hit; nothing brings people together like a good movie and some fresh popcorn. That said, this could be a more demanding task for the social committee, as they will need to supply a projector, an off-grid power supply, snacks, and so on. That said, there is always the option to hire a private company to set this up or attend a public outdoor cinema event as a group.
Social committee events play a major role in creating good team dynamics. Not only are they a great break from routine, but they can also do wonders for employee satisfaction and engagement. With the help of a social committee, then, your team can feel appreciated and connected to one another, which can also benefit the growth of your company.
So, if you want your social committee to succeed:
- Ensure that it represents all departments.
- Offer clear guidelines regarding company policies and financial support.
- Plan events that your team will enjoy and be interested in.
- Ask for feedback after each event to evaluate its success.
Got a question or want to share your own ideas? Let us know in the comments section below.
Originally published on September 23, 2014.