Taking your employees on a retreat can be a great way to build camaraderie between team members and create innovative solutions to some of your company’s nagging problems. However, without careful planning, a corporate retreat can easily go badly.
One of the biggest steps you can take to ensure your team building retreat runs smoothly is to hire a professional. An experienced moderator can plan an itinerary that suits each of your employees’ needs. A third party also allows the individuals who would otherwise have to run events (human resources, team leaders, upper management, etc.) to participate in scheduled sessions.
A team building consultant can assist with another important decision: the location of your retreat. There are locations both near and far, luxury and rustic. Your location depends heavily on how long your employees can feasibly be away from the office, your retreat budget, your goals and how much work you’ll be mixing with play. No matter how far you actually travel, a new location can help you approach existing problems and new challenges differently.
Picking up your employees and placing them in a resort or cabin is not enough to call it team building. Set goals for your retreat using input from all levels of employees, from new hires to upper management. Your final itinerary should be filled with activities that help your team meet the goals it deemed important. A corporate retreat is beneficial for more than team building. A different setting and collaborative environment can help employees solve business problems together. Therefore, goals might be anything from getting to know people you don’t work with on a daily basis to making headway on a passion project.
Team building retreats should leave plenty of time for each item on the itinerary. Focus on the quality, not the quantity, of activities and work with your team building consultant to add flexibility into the schedule. Consider add fun activities that aren’t traditional team building after everyone gets to know one another: visiting a nearby tourist destination, a scavenger hunt or cooking together.
The itinerary should include a careful balance of activities that cater to the unique individuals who work for your company. Introverts, extroverts, experienced employees and new hires all have different qualifications for a successful retreat. Two ways to ensure everyone leaves feeling positive are ample free time and good food.
After leaving the retreat refreshed and bonded over shared experiences and team building activities, commit to using new skills and relationships in everyday business. It’s also important to address any issues that surfaced during your retreat, such as work/life balance or company culture concerns.