Human Resources Survey Results
Employee Events

This survey was conducted from March 27 through April 29, 2003.

In an Internet survey ending April 29, 2003, we asked people for their opinions on employer-sponsored events. Here are the results. They make a great deal of intuitive sense.

Which of the following is your favorite type of
social event a company can have for its employees?

Sample Size = 359

Too few people desired dinner at the boss's house to merit further comment or analysis.

The favorite time for social events was weekend days.


Which is the best time for a company to hold social events for its employees?

Sample Size = 360

Of course, the preferred time depended upon the type of event preferred. Weekend days were, as you would expect, most preferred for picnics/barbeques and amusement park outings. The evenings (either weekday or weekend) were preferred for dinners and banquets. The party crowd, those who prefer cocktail hours, preferred weekday evenings.

 Type of Event Preferred
Preferred Event TimeCocktail hour/
drinks
Picnic/
barbeque
Gala/
formal dance
BanquetSporting eventDinner in a restaurantAmusement park outing
Weekday evenings58%14%0%42%35%50%7%
Weekend days8%66%0%17%30%10%68%
Weekend evenings33%20%100%42%35%40%24%
 
Sample size361691124205241

Just a few events are needed. Three events per year will satisfy the desires of the majority of employees. Four events per year will satisfy the desires of 7 of 8 employees.


How many social events a year should a company hold for its employees?

Sample Size = 358

Aficionados of cocktail hours and sporting events were more likely to desire a larger number of events per year.

 Type of Event Preferred
Number of events desired per yearCocktail hour/
drinks
Picnic/
barbeque
Gala/
formal dance
BanquetSporting eventDinner in a restaurantAmusement park outing
None0%0%0%4%0%2%0%
One17%12%0%4%0%12%12%
Two11%36%64%42%42%37%49%
Three17%17%9%17%5%17%17%
Four28%25%18%29%21%27%12%
Five to Eight11%8%9%4%16%0%5%
Nine to Twelve3%2%0%0%0%2%0%
More then Twelve14%1%0%0%16%4%5%
 
Sample Size361701124195241

What Does This Mean?

If you are in a position to recommend events for your company, clearly a picnic/barbeque or two a year should be seriously considered. Keep in mind, though, that this will satisfy the work/social desires of only about half of employees. Adding a holiday party should satisfy the work/social desires of another large group of people - those who prefer banquets, dinners, and galas. Three or four events per year, if budget allows, should be sufficient.

It is important to consider the needs of the employee base in planning events for your organization. For instance, if the person in charge of making events decisions happens to prefer sporting events and lets this preference drive his/her decision, the desires of almost all employees will not be met.

These results may or may not apply at your place of employment. I expect picnics will be popular in most places. However, preferences will be affected by employee age, income and family size/composition, as well as by climate and time of year. You can use these results as a guideline, but if in doubt, ask the employees what they want.