How to get people to show up for a company party?

Marty_in_GAJuly 9, 2002

We historically have about 20 people show up, out of 70, mostly team leaders... One more time, we would like to have a summer party, with families, at a picnic area. There are usually some games, and food. We work crazy hours, and sit in vans together for more hours, so no one really wants to party together. Any ideas for breathing some life into this group of assorted ages?

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announce really tempting door prizes and give everyone the following day off.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2002 at 10:54PM
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announce really tempting door prizes and give everyone WHO COMES, I meant to say, the following day off.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2002 at 11:06PM
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Of course the "team leaders" show up because they are the rah-rah Type A cheerleader people who get the perks. This corporate mentality really disgusts me. The rest of the herd obviously doesn't give a hoot. Perhaps you should think of treating the rest of your employees better ALL the time than try and bribe them once a year with a party.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2002 at 8:52AM
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I think it's a mistake to read too much into this. The OP may treat her/his employees very well and they still might not show up. It's a little difficult to socialize with someone you work for - there's a status differential that's hard to overlook, even when you are great friends with the boss at work.

If you decide to give it another try, why not plan lots of kid-friendly activities with cute (and inexpensive) prizes.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2002 at 10:34AM
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OOPs-please don't misinterperate this... I am a team leader, and none of us are cheerleaders with perks-it is not that type of job. We are expected to set the an example by attending, just as we set an example at work. We usually have door prizes that would appeal-video rentals, phone cards, etc. Just looking for something tempting...

    Bookmark   July 10, 2002 at 3:28PM
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One problem I've found with past company parties is that they tend to be BORING! Everything set up for kids and nothing for adults. You sit around and talk shop, I can think of better things to do on a Saturday afternoon.

Every year, a bunch of us would attempt to steer the annual company function away from a picnic type event to an adults evening out, river cruise or dinner theater, but nope. So many of us wouldn't go.

Poll the employees, what they would like, what they dislike, why they don't go (make it anonymous) and tried to figure out what they would attend.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2002 at 10:44AM
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My company has this same sort of gathering a couple of times a year. We have it at a local park, outside, picnic style. We always have it catered with barbecue or burgers/hot dogs. There are door prizes of course and AWARDS are given out too. When we get an idea of how many are coming and how many children there will be, we usually hire someone to entertain the children. Some other things we've done is rent one of those bouncy things that kids like to jump around it, play volleyball, hire a DJ. As mentioned above, your plans will all depend on the ages of the children that are going to come. If most of the attendees don't have children or have older children, then it might be better to have something at a local dining establishment or sports bar. Of course, you have to stay within the budget you've been given and that can sometimes be a big problem. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2002 at 11:47AM
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Marty, I am absolutely sure your heart is in the right place . There is a lot of effort required to have these functions work well.

When I was still working we had a few folk who tried to get the whole team out to functions with no luck. Like Amethyst's suggested, they did a survey and found out that the biggest road block was spouses who didn't know anyone and therefore felt awkward attending.

The next event was planned around the spouses. Instead of giving draw prizes the compnay payed for babysitters. There were some "get to know each other games" , change partner dances etc. The night was a big hit and folk got to know each other. After that attendance went up at the family centered activities.

This may not be the issue at your company so I think Amythest has a great idea ...ask them why they don't come. Maybe you can fix it and maybe you'll have to settle for 20!!!!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2002 at 4:10PM
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Free Beer

    Bookmark   July 14, 2002 at 9:01PM
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dwyerkg, that was my suggestion. It always works. And make it GOOD beer- I wouldn't be at all tempted by a keg of Bud. And also offer wine and frozen drinks for the non-beer oriented (poor saps).
A couple of super-soakers can go a long way too.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2002 at 12:57PM
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Skip the picnic and do something for grown-ups. The best company party I ever went to was a wine-tasting.

I don't have kids (but I do like kids) and I have no interest in attending a big family picnic with my co-workers. People without kids will be bored. People who do have kids probably spend enough time eating hot dogs at county parks.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2002 at 6:21PM
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Alcohol certainly does seem to bring out a crowd. But in most corporate environments, alcohol is not allowed at official company functions due to the liability issues.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2002 at 9:46PM
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I think the idea of ditching the kids is a good one...It depends on your work environment too though...

My dad's company always does a catered dinner then goes to the local "little theatre" for a play...My parents really enjoy it.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2002 at 10:06AM
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Where in GA are you?
The most fun party I ever had with coworkers was to Dave & Busters in Marietta. We gave out a few tokens, and rented the karaoke room. Now that was an environment that definitely did NOT encourage shop talk! LOL We had a ball! There was also a cash bar.

If you poll the employees, then they will all think they deserve to be pleased, because you asked for their opinion. For example, we took a vote one year: 6 Flags, with family, or Braves game with family. The vote went for the ball game, and many of the people didn't attend because they thought they'd get their choice and didn't. There wasn't much socializing possible with either option. That's why I truly liked D&B.

We also had one at one of those go-cart/video-game places. Now THAT was fun, racing all your coworkers in go-carts! Of course, that one didn't include alcohol, but did include plenty of tokens and go-cart tickets.

Another year we had a picnic, and it was just fine. We had good food, a couple of people had boats for the lake, and we had a cotton candy machine rented for the kids. but I still think D&B was the most fun of all.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2002 at 1:45PM
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How about a group activity where everyone doesn't feel the need to socialize the whole time? I don't know if you have a place like Medieval Times (you eat with your hands and watch a show) or how about going to a waterpark. I think somethimes people don't want to feel stuck talking to people they don't really know (or know them and don't like them). The amusement park idea is a good one, also.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2002 at 4:40PM
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I work in a small office so it may be easier than a party for a large office where you don't know everyone as well. I hosted a pumpkin-carving party for co-workers and their families. Only one person declined the invitation.

I think it worked well because people weren't sitting around which almost always leads to work talk. It is the "thing" you have in common with these people so it is inevitable that's where the talk leads.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2002 at 10:46AM
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I'm with TrekKaren on this one...if you can get thee to a Dave and Buster's ( there's one out Norcross way off I-85, too), you'll have a blast. I did a corporate function there (no kids, this was a business meeting with many out of town attendees). They can do the entire meal, you can have a cocktail or not, and they provide the tokens. It brought out the kid in everyone! Nobody wanted to get on the last bus back to the hotels.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2002 at 9:49AM
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