Many companies have remote staff that typically never meet in person unless corporate retreats are planned. In these situations, a retreat is essential for coworkers to have a better understanding of who they work with and how each team member thinks.
Benefits of Corporate Retreats:
A corporate retreat is a chance for employers to affirm the company's values and speak more candidly about long-term goals. When employees are in a relaxed but stimulating environment, this encourages creative thinking that can provide valuable input.
When employees feel that their mental health is prioritized through a retreat, they feel more willing to contribute to the goals of the company and expend more energy. A retreat also allows employers to learn more about their staff and how best to relate to them in the workplace.
How to Plan a Retreat:
Corporate retreats need to appeal to individuals who respond to stimuli differently. Activities should be planned according to the objectives of the retreat (to bond, plan for the year ahead, brainstorm new projects, etc.), and a suitable venue should be used that can accommodate the types of activities you want to host.
For example, there are many retreats that focus on team building through physical activities and trust exercises. Other retreats can be held at a hotel with conference rooms as well as social venues like a bar or restaurant.
It is important to acknowledge the comfort levels of staff so that they are challenged but not made to feel isolated if they cannot participate. Consider if an activity may be too strenuous, touches on an employee's past trauma, or doesn't appeal to someone's interests at all to the point that they cannot engage.
A practical factor to keep in mind when planning a corporate retreat is the cost. Try to compare the package prices of a dedicated corporate retreat venue to another desirable venue. Dedicated corporate retreat venues may include activities in their packages, while other venues only offer the use of their space. You will have to organize activities (and any relevant resources) yourself.
Tip: Try to travel during the off-season to save money on flights and accommodation.
Ask your staff for recommendations.
Asking staff for their retreat suggestions will give you a better sense of what people enjoy and what they will respond best to. When staff are given a say, they will also understand that the company values their opinions.
What are some corporate retreat ideas?
1. Go for a hike.
Being in nature is a shift from the corporate environment and allows coworkers to chat while exploring a new landscape.
2. Go on a bike tour.
Some cities have dedicated bike lanes that would accommodate a tour by bike. These cities are likely to have bike rental facilities and suggested routes.
3. Allow departments to have planning meetings.
Each department should have time alone to discuss their goals and ideas.
4. Host an all-inclusive meeting.
There should also be a meeting for the entire group so that the company's broader goals can be discussed.
5. Ask individuals to present a talk.
Department heads or team leaders can be asked to prepare a short talk relevant to the goals of your retreat. Examples include how to avoid burnout, ways to be more efficient during a slump, and how to communicate more effectively.
6. Host team competitions.
Organize staff members into teams that don't necessarily reflect their work teams and create a tournament. Teams should try to win the most points by completing physical and/or mental challenges. This will help coworkers to bond.
7. Allow employees to host an event.
Invite individuals to host an activity that they are passionate about. This will allow team members to share their interests and hobbies while keeping everyone engaged. Examples include Dungeons & Dragons, how to cook a dish, a sport that is less well-known, and yoga.
8. Plan a scavenger hunt.
Scavenger hunts force people to think creatively and work as a team. If your venue is close to an escape room, this is also a good challenge.
9. Prepare swag for your team.
Branded items like temporary tattoos, t-shirts, hats, tote bags, and water bottles make retreats exciting and create an informal uniform for the trip. Your team will remember the retreat whenever they wear or use the branded merchandise.
10. Host feedback sessions at the end of each day.
You should try to get as much feedback from employees as possible so that you can plan an even better retreat for the following year. Having feedback sessions at the end of the week may result in many people forgetting specific elements of activities. By providing feedback each day, the memories are fresh, and any concerns about how the retreat is going can be addressed immediately.
11. Get feedback from your staff.
After an activity and after the retreat as a whole, staff should be asked for their feedback. This information can help with planning your next retreat so that it is more effective and enjoyable.
Factors that can be surveyed include how accessible the venue was, how stimulating each activity was, whether staff members enjoyed themselves, if any positive changes took place amongst coworkers, etc.
What do you do at a company retreat?
- Activities like hiking or attending a cooking class.
- Have team meetings to discuss goals for the quarter or year.
- Socialize with coworkers to learn more about them.
- Offer input on how a department or the company as a whole can improve its operations.
- Learn soft skills that can be applied in the office.
How do you lead a staff retreat?
You can lead a staff retreat by doing research on what employees would like to do and what their limitations are. Next, you should work out a budget for your retreat and use that to choose a venue that can accommodate your group.
While on the retreat, you can lead by providing itineraries and engaging in activities with your employees. During activities, try to facilitate conversations that can help coworkers bond.
What is a retreat event?
An example of a retreat event is going on a hike. This will allow coworkers to bond in a social setting.
How do you plan a creative retreat?
Your retreat can be more creative by allowing employees to plan a few activities themselves. You could also look for unconventional bonding activities like a group video game or escape room.