As the weather gets warmer in much of the country, many of us are once again dedicating a significant portion of the day to thinking about one thing: ice cream. (For more about how the weather affects us, check out the post "Seasonal Insurance: Is It Right For Your Business?") While it may seem like dreams of Drumstick cones and Bubble Plays might not be the most productive activity for your employees to be engaging in, don’t underestimate the boost that well-timed ice cream break can give to your bottom line.
Eating Ice Cream to Get Ahead
Okay, so maybe it isn’t the properties of delicious frozen desserts per se that can help grow and strengthen a business. But the camaraderie and team-building that an ice cream social (or, admittedly, a similar social event) can offer your business have the potential to improve everything your business does.
Here are key pointers to make sure your next team-building event helps propel you to a new level of greatness.
- Set aside time to truly socialize. The point of social events with your team is to build relationships that go beyond your work. Why? Because caring about your team is an excellent way to build feelings of commitment to and engagement with the work you do. It’s fine to have an event in your normal office space, but make an effort to truly set aside work projects for the duration of the social so you can forge relationships on another level.
- Plan events around new hires or projects. If your business is growing fast, you’re probably super-busy – which can make it tricky for new people to get to know the rest of the team in an outside-work setting. To facilitate the integration of new employees, plan a social event after they’ve been there a week or two or after the completion of a major project . Both events are significant enough to spark conversation at the early phases of an event, which can prevent dreaded awkward silences.
- Be ready with (non-cheesy) ice breakers. And yes, there is such a thing as a non-cheesy ice breaker. Even if it’s just a few topics of conversation you have ready to bring up and introduce to your team, having a plan to keep the event humming along can go a long way toward making it a success.
- Establish clear goals for the event. While you don’t have to share these with your team, it’s smart to go into a social event with specific goals: to build relationships between team members, to generate ideas for a new project, to ease tension after completing a major project, and so on. Having one or two such goals in mind will help you determine what kind of activity to plan and what (if any) ice breakers to introduce.
- Ask for feedback (or suggestions). Not that into ice cream? Feel free to choose any social event that suits your team – the beauty of owning your own business means that you aren’t hemmed in by established HR protocol or longstanding corporate traditions. And because you probably have a pretty small team, make sure you take special dietary restrictions or preferences into consideration when making plans.
The Rest of the Math: Ice Cream to Employee Engagement to Profits
Okay, I’ll admit it. I tried to get your attention with the title of this blog post. So here’s the rest of the story: once you serve the ice cream (or whatever treat you choose), your increased revenue won’t magically appear. But what you will likely notice is that your team members are happier, more energetic, and more engaged in the work they do.
That means that they’re more likely to go the extra mile on small projects, help each other out more often, and generally dedicate slightly more energy to all their work-related projects. Over time, those little adjustments can translate to big gains for your output and productivity – and, of course, revenue. And if you want to see results faster… maybe serve more ice cream?