Should You Include Family at Company Events?

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One of the more frequent questions asked to WCF planners is, “Should we include the family of our employees when planning a company event?” And it makes total sense; no one wants to be remembered for committing a major party faux pas.

To help you navigate the sea of invite indecencies, here are some suggestions on when to keep it employees-only and when to elect for a family-friendly event.

When to Invite Family to the Party

  • First Meeting Family Picnic

    If you have never met the significant others and/or children of your co-workers, then extending an invite to them helps you better understand the people you work with through the eyes of their family. It strengthens relationships between employees by revealing the personal sides you don’t always experience behind a computer.

  • Employee Happiness

    By including the family of your employees at a company event, you demonstrate to employees that this isn’t just about business; it’s about including the loved ones into the circle, too. This instills a sense of belonging and if increasing overall happiness among employees is one of your goals, this is one way to accomplish it.

  • Picnics and Parties

    Summertime company picnics and holiday parties are two of the best opportunities for inviting family into the fold. Not only does it capitalize on the season (think warm summer days and festive winter nights); it can also making your corporate events more interesting.

When NOT to Invite Family to the Party

  • Work Talk Team Building

    If your event is focused on recapping sales figures or talking about the next marketing campaign, then inviting the family is not a good idea. It can deter your employees from their most productive contributions, and it is just plain boring for non-employees. Unless you have activities for family members to engage in during work-related portions, keep the invite list to employees only.

  • Team Focused Event

    When the purpose of your corporate event is primarily focused on very specific team building goals between co-workers such as building camaraderie, improving creative thinking or enhancing group problem solving, then having family present will generally be counterproductive to your event goals. Save the family invite for the summer picnic or holiday event.

  • Cost

    If including the loved ones of your employees is cost-prohibitive, then the best choice is to invite just the employees. You can always plan ahead for a family-friendly event next year.
    Of course, all of these are only suggestions. Every business’ situation is unique, so when planning an event remember to consider the focus of the event, employee engagement, time of year, budget, and overall feelings on family.

Murrel Karsh 773.486.7403
Alexa Wierzbinski 773.486.7436
Shuva Brodley 773.537.7523
David Jackson 773.537.7524

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