A Tale of Two Thrifties

Picnic season. Can’t you smell the barbecue already? Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, baked beans, potato salad. A face painter or balloon twister for the kids, maybe an inflatable toy or two, and some fun summer music in the background. It’s a classic recipe for summer fun! Summer picnics are the best, if you ask me. I’m a huge fan. For corporate America, it’s an opportunity to get the employees out of the office and onto the grass, and mingle with their coworker’s families. It creates a sense of belonging to a family, and goes a long way to promote good morale. The picnic is important. Perhaps that’s why two of our clients got creative instead of scrapping the picnic altogether.
It wasn’t long ago that we went to the phones to contact our clients about their yearly summer event, and two of them, we’ll call them company A and Company B, were seriously considering cancelling the event that year. Their budgets were tight, and neither of them could afford the kind of picnics that they had years prior. When we looked at the contracts from the previous years, we found that these two companies had a lot in common. Similar group size, menu choices and entertainment choices were all about the same – and they liked to picnic at the same park. The light bulbs went on and we were on the phones getting these two companies together. Combining their picnic would go a long way in both of their budgets! They agreed, and this is how it worked for them: Both groups opted to have their own style of catering. Company A combined potluck sides with a hired bbq chef for the grilled items that they purchased at Costco. Company B gathered their volunteers, which included their CEO, to do much the same thing. It was arranged that their picnic sites were side by side, and the shared entertainment was set up between the two groups: Two inflatable toys, a face painter, and a DJ who came ready with games for each group to play at different times. All of the guests had a great time. It went so well that they did the same thing two years in a row!
You don’t have to share a picnic with another group to keep your picnic budget under control. A potluck picnic can be a wonderful way to bring employees together, and with a little creativity can be just as fun as the big budget picnics – it can also be more labor intensive, take more planning time and a lot more organization. The point is there are many ways to enjoy a company-wide summer get together without taking a huge chunk out of your morale budget. Let the sunshine inspire you and get creative!

Spring into Appreciation

Most people associate spring time with nicer weather and budding flowers. Few realize that spring is host to recognition celebrations of some wonderful people. Teachers, Administrative Professionals, Nurses, Police and volunteers all have days or weeks of recognition during this time. These professions add to our lives and our communities so giving something back to these people seems like a no brainer.

Here are some tips, hints and inexpensive ways to recognize anyone you may know in one of these professions:

·         Give a gift of some kind. Something tangible will help remind them of your appreciation long after their special day has passed by.

·         Recruit help to do something nice. Ask co-workers, neighbors or friends to donate a few dollars to whatever form of recognition you choose.

·         Use the personal touch. Pick out a gift or form of recognition you know is something they are interested in. Write a handwritten note card of thanks. Deliver the gift in person.

·         Verbalize your appreciation. Nothing is better than a sincere conversation of gratitude. Not only include why you are grateful for their service but also how it impacts your life for the better.

·         Expensive isn’t always best. It is spring after all and there is an abundance of flowers just starting to bloom. Little flower pots with a ribbon wrapped around them are small enough they can sit on a desk and often cost less than five dollars.

·         Offer them a break from their duties. Take note of the daily tasks they do and create coupons for those tasks on the computer. (free templates are available) Give the coupons offering things like “free half hour of filing” etc. to them on their special day.

·         Lunch is always nice. Treat them to a lunch out. Make sure to select a location that is their preference and plan ahead to accommodate their schedule.

·         Surprise them with small gifts. Drop a little something on their desk every hour of the work day. To give you an idea try something like a piece of fruit, a candy bar, a coffee, an energy drink, a special notepad, humorous sticky notes, a burned CD of music, etc.

·         Privilege Parking. It doesn’t cost anything to keep the parking spot closest to the front door open and available to them for them to park in.

A little creativity can go a long way but what really matters is that you care enough to take a few moments out of your day and recognize their contributions. Everyone likes be praised for a job well done. It takes only a little bit of initiative on your end and the results are long standing.

Administrative Professionals Week April 20 – 24

Volunteer Appreciation April 20 – 24

Teacher Appreciation Week May 4 – 8

Nurses Appreciation Week May 6 – 12

Police Appreciation Week May 10 – 16