Guide to Team-Building: Are Your Employees Refusing to Attend Company Parties & Events?

Oh… parties. Or have we forgotten about those already? The lack of social events in 2020 had been a loss for some and a win for others. What I mean by that is you’re either Tom the Talker, the outgoing mingler who used to look forward most to office happy hours – or Jim here who will likely say no to any company-related activity happening after work.

Not everyone wants to spend their private time with the people they are already spending eight hours a day with. There are also employees who may want to unwind alone after a day facing customers nonstop. So if you’re one of the Jim’s, or deal with Jim’s on the regular, this blog is for you.

Work Social Events are not an Evaluation of Loyalty and Success

Company social events and parties are some of the many examples used when the topic on creating a good work culture comes up. This explains why more and more modern organizations sell themselves as the “fun folks who offer free booze”. It’s true indeed, backed by hard stats, that 66% of millennials cited free food and beer as the reasons that keep them interested in a job. But while we agree that it helps to have the team come together every now and then over a few drinks or other activities, it creates an opposite effect when you make them mandatory. For some of us, we may just prefer to hang out with family and friends whom we are comfortable around.

At the same time, it is important for leaders to appreciate and focus on the things your employees do within the scopes of work. If they did their best in their jobs, they deserve to be evaluated based on those efforts alone. Whether or not they participate in after-work activities should have no impact on their loyalty and success.

Two Things to Consider When You’re “Team-Building”

Obviously, having the chance to get to know your team on a more personal level is ideal and encouraged, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you want to team-build, do it within working hours. You never know, but your employees may have other responsibilities to tend to after work. If you truly wanted everyone to be present, it makes sense to put aside one to two workdays each month for team activities.
  • Pick an activity that can be enjoyed by a larger range of people. Socializing and drinking are not for everyone and are definitely not the only way to bond. Fun team activities these days can stretch from karaoke sessions, watching a live show together, to something more active like hiking.

Options, Options, Options. An Example by Our Team at Prevue

Just to be clear, Prevue is not against the idea of team-bonding over booze. Back when working in the office was still a thing, we liked to keep our fridge stocked up with a couple of beers for whoever wanted to unwind on a Friday afternoon. This is entirely optional, of course, and we believe that having the option there can make a difference for some.

When it comes to organizing bigger company events, what we usually do at Prevue is provide our employees a short list of activities to choose from. In the past, we’ve had our team go in smaller groups to visit the winery together, go water tubing, golf, enjoy a spa, and many more. By doing this we are ensuring that everyone gets to enjoy the activity they personally picked. It also gives each group a chance to bond through common interests and hobbies.

Mindfulness is Key

At the end of the day, the purpose of company parties and events is to bring people together – not scare them away. Be mindful to the employees who likely have a good reason for not attending. Truth is, many of us just needed to recharge our batteries so we can start another work day fresh and productive.