Organizing the company picnic

OK, many of you already read this article about The art of incompetence – but I have to say that I have been surprised by the response. There are three categories of responses.

  1. No Way – this is why HR does not have a seat at the table!
  2. Sure – good for company, good for my visibility, good for morale.
  3. I am indignant that anyone would feign incompetence just to get out of doing something (humor challenged!)

About 80% of the responders answer #2 & #3. Now, I know that the company picnic can be a good thing – but really, does HR have to organize it? Would Finance organize it? Would Manufacturing organize it?

Seems to me this sends the wrong message to the rest of the exec team about the purpose of HR. Are we here to organize the picnic and bring your daughter to work day or are we here to help ensure that our organization succeeds???

If we hope to have a *seat at the table* shouldn’t we have to have something more to contribute?



5 Responses to Organizing the company picnic

  1. Hey TO’B…agree with your post but will also add that if HR is typically the department that is constantly asked to handle and organize these type of requests then I’d recommend a couple of things in order to make sure HR occupies and reflects an added value seat at the table.

    1. Creat some type of Employee Activities Committee which includes representatives from every department. With this, every department has their say on what activities are done and secondly every department contributes equally when organizing an event. This would take the focus off of HR and shift it to the EAC.

    2. HR needs to take a hard look at themselves and see where they are or are not really adding value. Take each functional area (recruiting, emp relations, benefits, compensation, etc…) and see what truly proactive things they can start doing. If done right over time, and with great ideas and accomplishments, they will be seen in a different light…

  2. tomob says:


    Like the EAC – and of course agree with point #2.

    Thanks – TO’B

  3. Kris says:

    The other catch-22 that most HR folks will feel is that this gets lumped with rewards and recognition. Solution #3 – become a project manager for the function, and farm out equal work to Finance, etc. via an informal EAC – some orgs won’t support the formal version of this, but you can usually find one solid rep from each department…

    Sometimes you gotta cheerlead a little bit….


  4. John says:

    Seems to me that the responses are pretty consistent. Treat the task of organizing a picnic like a project and run it with a project team. Rule of thumb in my book is to distance one’s self from the administrative details associated with picnic planning. More imporantatly, ensure that as the HR professional, you are known for leading an accomplished project team, not organizing picnics.

  5. Like the EAC also thanks for the information

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