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Nicole Lavin of Kapow Events

Why Fortune 500 companies are hosting holiday parties in summer

Nicole Lavin of Kapow EventsCorporate entertainment – the face of which is the annual company holiday party – has changed over the years. Once an occasion for employees to gather around the punch bowl to celebrate the winter holidays and a year of hard work, holiday parties have turned into dynamic, exciting (often off-site) events for not just employees but for families and clients, too. But the venue, entertainment and participants aren’t the only things changing. Companies are recognizing that their employees’ hard work should be celebrated all year-long--and they’re hosting exciting summer events to prove it.

With a “Christmas in July” mind-set, companies are planning off-site corporate events to get their employees out of the office during the hottest time of the year. By hosting corporate events in July and August, companies can enhance employees’ year-round satisfaction and, in turn, increase employee retention. Whether a Fortune 500 company or a start-up, scheduling summer activities outside of the office gives employers the opportunity to develop a healthy work environment and enhance company culture in four main ways:

1. Boost morale

Adding a few company events to the summer calendar is a great way to build upon company culture outside of the traditional holiday season parties. The excitement from December’s party may linger into January, but company morale might be lacking come June. Hosting a mid-year event can help boost company morale and remind employees that their work is reason enough for celebration. If you operate in a seasonal industry with slow summers, hosting an off-site event in July or August can help those in the office re-charge their batteries and close out the year strong. Off-site events can also encourage knowledge-sharing and give employees the opportunity to form relationships across teams that they are excited to cultivate when they return to the office.

2. Enjoy the outdoors

From rooftop happy hours to baseball games, the summer season presents unique opportunities for employees to enjoy the outdoors together. These activities give employees the chance to strengthen bonds in a new environment and discover shared interests. For example, two employees might discover their shared passion for golfing while playing in a company tournament that they wouldn’t have uncovered otherwise. Employees will not only view these outdoor events as additional work perks, they’ll understand that the company conveys a culture of gratitude. Showcasing gratitude to employees generates loyalty, which leaves a positive impression on company culture and leads to greater employee retention.

3. Blend work and family 

These days, it’s almost impossible for employees to keep their work and personal lives mutually exclusive, so companies should provide opportunities for them to blend the two. With the kids out of school, summer corporate events give employees the chance to bring family and career together. Interactive corporate events such as go-karting, miniature golf or a scavenger hunt are great ways to get children engaged. Inviting employees to bring family members to summer events is a simple opportunity for their families to start loving the company just as much as they do. 

4. Encourage work-life balance

Incorporating spouses and children into corporate events demonstrates that the company acknowledges the importance of work-life balance. Employee work-life balance has a large impact on company culture and the overall demeanor of your workforce. When employees feel that an employer values their time and personal responsibilities, they are more productive at work, which creates a healthier work environment for all employees. Greater flexibility between work and personal responsibilities also results in greater employee satisfaction and retention overall.

No matter the activity, it’s worth the investment to engage employees and enhance company culture by demonstrating gratitude to employees. By incorporating events into the summer schedule, companies will produce happier, more productive employees who feel valued. After all, employees are the most important asset to any business.

Nicole Lavin is the vice president of operations at Chicago-based Kapow Events, an online marketplace that enables companies to book unique, interactive corporate event experiences in real time, paying no more than if they booked direct, according to the company. 

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