Planning a corporate retreat can be a daunting task—from logistics like organizing a committee and sending invitations to higher undertakings like determining goals and objectives for your company. And because corporate retreats can often come with a hefty price tag, careful planning is critical to both its value and success. When executed properly though, corporate retreats are not only great for team building and enhancing work relationships, but they can also improve work morale and give your team a creative boost for solving any pressing problems.
When planning your next corporate or business retreat, keeping these five things in mind will not only help take the stress off organizing your event but will ensure that you create an exciting, groundbreaking retreat—one that has the potential to chart a whole new course for your company.
1. Know the Purpose of Your Corporate Retreats
Before you start planning, it is essential to know the motivations behind your retreat. Business retreats are unique opportunities that shouldn’t be overlooked. From a business standpoint, a retreat is an excellent opportunity for strategic conversations and a chance to focus on the bigger picture of the company, not the menial day-to-day tasks. And in an increasingly digital world, there are some decisions that are just too important to make over a conference call.
Retreats can also provide a space to learn about your other coworkers and their personalities organically, and how these personalities can then be played to their strengths in the company when back in work mode.
Or, you can sidestep the full-on business approach entirely, and plan a corporate retreat as a ‘thank you’ and a sign of appreciation for your hard-working team. These types of retreats show your employees you value their time and effort and some studies even show that recognition can potentially help boost employee retention.
2. Determine the Invitation List
Once the purpose of the retreat is clear, you need to take the time to zero in on who is invited to the business retreat. If you have a small company, chances are the whole team is likely to be involved. But if you are a member of a large company, use the purpose of the retreat as a filtration method for determining who needs to be invited. Consider using resources like Google Forms to allow employees to share their input on factors such as dates, location, duration, as well as any additional topics of discussion. Give as much notice as possible to your employees to avoid any potential scheduling conflicts and to allow them to tend to any possible family responsibilities.
3. Communicate the Goals
It may sound obvious, but an important thing to keep in mind when planning a corporate retreat is to clearly communicate the goals of the retreat to your team. As mentioned earlier, corporate retreat structures can range anywhere from top-level decision-making to employee appreciation and sipping on cocktails. Make sure your employees know what the goals of the company retreat are, so they can mentally prepare for the week or weekend ahead.
You’d hate for an employee to break out their sunblock and floppy hat, only to dampen their expectations because you didn’t communicate clearly that there would be an early morning working session.
4. Plan Activities: Work and Pleasure
After you have the business retreat’s purpose, invite list, and goals clarified, you will want to start narrowing down your location for your retreat. Determine how many hours per day will be spent on work-related tasks and consider how that will play out at the potential venue. Is the space large enough? Do they have all the work necessities, such as desks or working spaces, a projector or screen, wi-fi, multiple outlets? Is the environment conducive to rich dialogue or will your employees find it hard to concentrate for some reason? Will food be available on-site for your employees?
Once you’ve successfully answered the pressing questions regarding the work aspect of your corporate retreat, you will also need to consider how your employees will want to spend their down time. Does the environment provide areas for contemplation, like nearby walking paths or gardens, for effectively reflecting on the day’s heavy discussions?
Some all-inclusive resorts can also offer enjoyable activities like yoga workshops, cooking classes, or surf lessons. These not only give employees a chance to wind down from high-level thinking but can indirectly be an excellent way for coworkers to get to know one another better.
Some might just want some solitude after a day of working with others, or a fun (but casual) outing – like a nearby happy hour, or even bowling. You can try having multiple options available for your employees so they can pick and choose, but the time is also important for employees to connect, so it’s best to keep people as grouped as possible.
Consider developing a planning committee and expect its members to commit at least three to six months for organizing the corporate retreat and ironing out these types of fine details.
5. Schedule a Recap
Hopefully, you’ll have a super successful corporate retreat, and your team will return from a positive experience with a renewed sense of purpose. But all your hard work with planning and executing the perfect company retreat will have gone to waste if you don’t implement the critical decisions that were made on the retreat. Make sure to schedule a huddle with your team upon return to recap the initial goals and objectives and talk through your findings. This is perfect for helping realign the company’s goals moving forward, as well as to brief the employees who couldn’t make the corporate retreat.
Remember, the success of a corporate retreat depends on its careful planning. Keeping these five things in mind when planning a corporate retreat will help to ensure all parties are prepared, focused, and bring their best ideas for the company forward.
Bonus Tip: Use a Centralized Scheduling Platform
Using a group planning platform like Guestboard can help keep track of all the moving pieces as you schedule your corporate retreat. With Guestboard, you can send direct invitation links to your employees via email/Slack/etc, so your employees can keep up-to-date on all pertinent information like travel and transportation, post thoughts and ideas on a central message board, as well as view each day’s schedule of events.
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