If you have a remote team, multiple offices or want to meet with your employees for longer than a couple of hours, a company retreat can be the perfect way to connect and boost morale.
Have you hired many people recently? Do you plan to hire aggressively in the next months? Our team has gone through changes recently, from someone leaving to adding new employees. A company retreat sounded like a great opportunity for us to get together with the team, spend time working from a different location and have some fun, so next month we will be having a team-building retreat. Hiring and motivating the best people is a challenge. Including company retreats as part of your employee benefits is a great way to boost morale and build a strong company culture.
Now that you understand the importance of a company retreat. Now, it is time to begin planning. First thing is first, you need to have a purpose for the retreat. For us, we want to build trust within the team through the Birkman Method. You may want to convert your retreat into the innovation boost your business has been needing. In only a couple of days, you could built new product features, internal tools and make prototypes of completely new products. Whatever your reason for the retreat, make sure that you clearly communicate this to your employees.
Speaking of communication, it’s important to address the language surrounding your company retreat. Set the expectations with employees and share an agenda a couple weeks before the retreat. This helps them know how to pack and prepare for a productive retreat.
Setting an agenda can be intimidating. You want to accomplish a lot of work while boosting your company culture and at the same you want everyone to have a great time. Some general tips on structuring your retreat:
💻 Start off with a brainstorming or ice-breaker session on your first day
👥 Organize your retreat around work and leave team-building activities for afternoons, evenings or weekends
😴 Leave some free time for your employees each day – they might want to simply have some time for themselves
🌮 Try to plan as many meals as possible together or even cook dinner together (it’s one of the best team-bonding activities!)
Avoid Holiday Seasons
Christmas, Easter and July/August might be tricky, as your employees may be planning their own vacations during these times. Holidays also increase prices and limit your options.
Leave the People Vote
Choose 2-3 dates as options before you leave people to vote.
Spring and Autumn are Popular
These are the most popular times of the year for planning a company retreat – the destinations are not overcrowded with tourists and you still catch nice weather. (Win-win!)
Now it is time to discuss the location since you have the all the above. Your goal is not to find the most popular location, but the most optimal spot for your team’s needs.
Distribution of the Team
If your team is distributed around the country, you have to find the location with the most convenient travel options for everyone.
If the majority of your employees are located in one single location, the most obvious idea might be to organize your retreat somewhere nearby. You would save money on travel and probably some stress with logistics.
Of course, you should ask your teammates about their preferences from a list of 2-3 locations. Alternatively, you can do the exact opposite: keep your annual retreat location a secret until the last moment. You know your employees and which one would be more effective on building morale and excitement for the retreat.
Lastly, Inc. magazine listed some key principles to follow no matter what approach you choose are:
- Collaborate. Everyone should have the means and the opportunity to contribute at the retreat.
- Make discussion introvert-friendly. Ask people to write down answers to questions instead of blurting them out, and ask every person in the room to give his or her opinion in an organized manner.
- Encourage people to express themselves. Have people use the same marker and type of paper to submit their opinions so they won’t be afraid of judgment. Make sure minority opinions have a way to be heard.
- Stay on topic. When someone brings up an issue that isn’t on the agenda at that time, write it down on a whiteboard or flip chart and come back to it at the end of the meeting.
Now that you have seen that there is no limit to what can be achieved at a company retreat, where you can combine work and play, why not begin planning your company retreat? We are looking forward to building trust within our company next month, so that we can boost innovation and productivity.