The company outing/team building excursion is met with conflicting opinions. Some like it and some loathe it, but if you have to do it then you have to do it, as it is an important part of company culture. In many of my previous posts I go over the importance of displaying leadership skills and being professional whenever you can, and a company outing is the perfect opportunity to do so. But also, as company culture dictates, chances are the higher-ups will be there to either participate in the company outing or just watch the worker ants fumble around. You should use this opportunity to put your name in their heads as well.
But first you need to know how to act. For beginners, unless you are told otherwise it’s always a nice gesture to bring some refreshments to the company outing. Obviously you can’t bring something for everyone if you work for a large company, but if everyone brings a little bit then there will be plenty of snacks for the whole group. This is just common courtesy really, and not doing so can sometimes be considered a no-no in company culture.
Secondly, make sure to prepare for the company outing. If you are expected to do some physical activity and weather permits, wear athletic attire. Make sure it’s still professional though. I’m sure I don’t have to go into detail about what is and isn’t considered appropriate as far as gym wear goes. If there is chance of rain then bring an umbrella. Being caught unprepared, aside from making you look silly, can also be deemed unprofessional by some of the higher-ups.
This brings me to number three: socializing. While talking to your coworkers and maybe even unknowns from a different department is expected, you should also go out of your way to use this opportunity to schmooze with some of the higher ups you may not have had a chance to meet yet. Just make some polite chit chat with the suits, but make sure to learn their names and faces beforehand so show them how professional you are. You are much more likely to be thought of when promotion season comes along if your name has a face and a handshake associated with it.
Company outings, as seen in countless company culture flicks, can sometimes contain slightly embarrassing team building activities. These can include, but are not limited to, the three-legged race, relay race, treasure hunt or various problem-solving exercises. While seemingly unprofessional, these activities depend on your company culture and are a great way to show leadership. By taking command of the team you are given and ‘winning’ by the terms of the activity, you can boost your image in the eyes of the higher-ups who are watching or even participating with you. But don’t take sportsmanship for granted; be competitive, but polite and professional as well.
The company outing is a great tool for the aspiring careerist because it breaks down the walls of the company hierarchy. All levels of employees and executives get together and are put on a less-tilted playing field, which gives you a great opportunity to show them what you’re made of. Be polite, be professional, exude confidence and leadership potential, and get to know as many people as you can. You may not like the outings, but don’t let them go to waste.
What are some things you do at the company outings to get noticed? Share with us in the comments section below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by born1945