The Art of the Pizza Party

The Art of the Pizza Party

This blog article conforms to our Editorial Policy and contains links to paid referral affiliates.

This article builds on my previous article, “The Hierarchy of Employee Needs,” and others, as indicated in the sections below.

The best way owners and managers can encourage employees at work or in the corporate world is to have an epic pizza party. Still, important planning must be done first. A pizza party alone and out of the blue is not effective. A well-planned and timed pizza party can be an amazing event that is the culmination of much hard work. Read this article to become the pizza party hero!

A Year Before the Party

This is the very early stages of planning an epic pizza party. This is where you plant the seeds and gain valuable information.

Living Wage

Make sure all your employees are making more than the local living wage. The local living wage is your baseline for all wages and salaries in your organization.

The minimum wage in your area is the legally required minimum you must pay your employees without getting sued or going to jail. However, because our governments are not perfect and there may be other economic issues in your area, the minimum wage may not be ethical.

An ethical wage is the local living wage, which allows one to afford daily life in one’s area. If you have multiple locations in different areas, you could use these to save on expenses in some areas with a lower living wage. However, using the highest living wage in your operating areas may be more ethical, and you could make that an organization-wide minimum wage.

To learn more, read my article “Why Should You Pay a Living Wage to Your Employee?

Pay Grid

You can’t afford to give random pay increases; you must create a pay grid for each type of role in your organization. A pay grid helps with negotiations and budgeting.

A pay grid will help you negotiate wages. If an employee or potential new employee wants more than you want to offer, you can use the pay grid as your guide or excuse. The employee may get a lower pay than they wished, but you showed that you have solid and fair policies everyone must follow.

In most organizations, the number one expense is wages. Budgeting for ever-changing or increasing wages and salaries can take time and effort. If you have a pay grid, you use the high end of the pay grid to budget, so your budget is always higher than what you’re paying out. This will give you a budget surplus for wages each year.

You can put your salary budget surplus back into other expenses for the next year or even give it as a bonus at the end of the year.

If you need help creating a pay grid, you can get my free pay grid tool when you join my e-mail listOpens in a new tab..

First Employee Engagement Survey

It would help if you found out what your employees are thinking. You can conduct an employee engagement survey yourself or hire an outside consultant to do it for you. Getting the outside consultant to do it will allow it to be anonymous, so your employees feel safer answering truthfully.

Upon reviewing the results, you will better understand what issues you should work to fix over the next few months. I recommend only working on the top two or three issues because you must repeat the survey in the next six months or so. The repeat survey will allow you to see how your improvements are doing.

If you need more info, read my article “Employee Engagement Survey.

Nine Months Before the Party

You’re making organizational changes that will benefit a successful pizza party during this time.

Higher Than Industry Standard

Ensure all your employees make more than the industry standard wage for their roles. This is a great strategy to retain and attract top talent.

You may have to update the new pay grid you created a few months ago. This is good because if you want to be organized, you should visit your pay grid several times a year.

To learn more about this topic, read my blog “Top 5 Reasons to Pay Higher Than Industry Standard.

Employee Evaluations

Start evaluating your employees more often so you can track performance over time. Yearly employee evaluations are not effective and can be biased.

It’s time for simple, fast, and trackable employee evaluations. Trackable parts are essential to a fair and accurate assessment of each employee. If the score goes down over time, you have an issue. If the score goes up over time, you may have a rock star on your hands.

Evaluate employees monthly, so you and your managers have a short period to remember. If you only supervise a few people, do one every few weeks. If you supervise 5-8 people, then plan to review one of them each week and keep rotating.

Read my article “Easy Employee Review Process” to learn more about this topic.

Regular Training Program

After completing your first engagement survey and conducting more employee evaluations, you should know what training your employees need or want.

Training for promotions is vital for your organization, and ongoing training is essential for employee career development. Career development training may not directly contribute to the organization, but the happy employees will!

Learn more about the importance of training with my article “Regular Training for a World-Class Team.

Get online computer training for you and your employees!

Use code: LBH10 to get 10% off!


Six Months Before the Party

You are halfway to your epic pizza party, so don’t stop now!

Cost of Living

Any employee you keep on staff is doing at least an okay job, so they deserve a cost-of-living pay increase. You should give a cost-of-living pay increase for any employee you intend to keep.

This is not a merit increase for great or rock-star performances but a cost-of-living increase for all your okay-to-good employees. These are the bulk of your employees who do the backbone work of the organization. They keep things steady.

All employees should receive this pay increase once per year. If you do not provide a regular pay increase, employees will start looking elsewhere.

This article, “Top Reasons to Have Cost of Living Pay Increases,” will give you more information.

Second Employee Engagement Survey

You need to follow up your first engagement survey with another to see if your efforts are making a difference.

Just like after your first engagement survey, work on the top two or three issues. Getting support from your employees may be beneficial when working on these issues. They can help you create the changes, and you will get emotional buy-in from them.

Review Policies

Now that you have some feedback about the organization, you need to take the time to review and update policies. Do this as a group activity with your employees!

As mentioned, emotional buy-in for a policy change can be powerful when making organizational changes. Trust is also created when employees can contribute to their future.

Having employees participate in the policy review and change process may conflict with your feelings as an owner or manager. Try to allow this process to happen. Suppose a policy does not work as intended. In that case, you get everyone back together again to review the results and improve the policy.

You may need help to review your policies, so consider hiring an HR Consultant.

Three Months Before the Party

This is the home stretch before your pizza party, so it’s time to do the last-minute things to make it epic!

Review or Get Benefits

If you already have a benefits program, that’s great, but it’s time to review it to ensure it meets your employees’ needs. The engagement surveys you have been conducting should have given you some idea.

If you don’t have any benefits, now is the time to get a basic benefit program. Next year, you will do another review and consider improving or changing the benefits plans.

Read my article “The Case for Good Benefits” for more guidance.


With almost half a year of employee evaluations and new training, it may be time to consider any needed promotions. This is important to get right in a smaller organization, as the wrong choices can drastically affect everything.

Only consider a promotion if the person has improved their evaluations and has taken the necessary training for the new role. It would help if you also had a person or team covering the previous role without a drop in performance or revenue.

Any promotions earned can be something you celebrate at the pizza party!

For more info on promotions, read my article “Internal Promotions Are the Gold Standard.

Merit Pay

Naturally, with promotions comes pay increases, but you may have discovered some rock star employees who are good at their jobs and have no intentions of getting promoted or taking a lateral transfer. It’s time to give your identified rock stars merit pay increases as needed.

With your improvements over the past year, attitudes may have changed. Loyalty may rise, so regular employees may be stepping up more as they stop looking for other jobs.

With your new pay grid in place for the last year, giving merit pay increases should be easy.

Get more info on this topic by reading my article “The Importance of Merit Pay Increases.

Earn a full-tim income blogging in 24 months.

At the Party

Following the timeline above will give you fantastic reasons to have a pizza party!

During Work Time

Have the party during work time, say on a Friday afternoon. Having the party outside work hours feels like mandatory unpaid overtime. Don’t worry about losing productivity for this Friday because employees will appreciate it and work harder the following Monday to catch up.


Now is the time to celebrate your rock stars and long-time employees. Celebrate promotions, the most improved, creative, supportive, upcoming retirements, and anything else. Try to have 5-10 awards to present.

Give a small gift with each award and engrave their names on a company trophy. These trophies will be displayed for clients to see. The gifts can be $50 to $100 in value.

Read my article “The Importance of Recognizing Good Work” for more info.

Pay Bonuses

If you implemented the actions in the timeline above, you should have seen improvements in performance, environment, or revenue. With your ability to budget better with a good pay grid, you may have some extra money available for a bonus.

Make this a celebration of everyone’s hard work and share the pay bonuses equally amongst all employees. No one should feel slighted because your rock stars already got a merit pay increase, and everyone also got a cost-of-living increase.

Read my article “Know When to Implement One-Time Bonuses or Perks.

What’s Next?

Stock up on some pizza party decorationsOpens in a new tab. (Paid Link) from Amazon! I love the giant inflatable pizza floatOpens in a new tab. (Paid Link) you can give as a prize with one of your awards!

Now, you need to continue similar activities for the next year. You may also want to get feedback from your managers, so read my article, “Get Feedback from Owners and Managers.

For human resources support in Canada, click here to book a free HR needs assessment now. If you’re on a budget, consider joining my Patreon to ask unlimitedOpens in a new tab. HR questions. If you need HR advice sooner, book a consultation via Fiverr here.

Ian Hopfe

Ian Hopfe is the owner of LBH Business Services Inc. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Ian is an Indigenous Human Resources Consultant. He has over ten years experience in HR and over fifteen years experience in management. All blog articles on this website are written by Ian unless a guest writer is indicated on the post.

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