The Art of Hosting a Successful Business RetreatMarch 23, 2017
In this day and age with digital offices and employees working from different locations, the face-to-face experience of a company retreat can benefit your team greatly and set the scene for more successful future collaboration. When planned and executed well, a business retreat can provide you a great opportunity to boost employee morale and build a strong and connected company culture.
While planning, keep in mind the importance of variety. Variety in everything from food options to groups and activities will help you plan a fun and productive company retreat. We have put together a retreat planning guide, with every step needed for hosting the most successful business retreat possible.
Develop Your Budget
A quality retreat doesn’t have to break the bank by any means. When determining your budget, you should consider your company size, where you want to go, and what activities and meals you want your retreat to include. Depending on whether you’ve hosted an event such as this before or if this is your company’s first time, that can help you decide how you want to set the tone this year. Research has shown taking a healthy break from our everyday lives increases our overall productivity, so choosing an equally exciting and relaxing space that your team will be happy to explore will be sure to increase dedication to your overall company goals in the long term.
Don’t underestimate the power of excellent accommodations. Providing your employees with an exceptional hotel experience will immediately set the tone for the remainder of the retreat. It may take up more of your budget, but the cost will be well worth it, especially if the accommodations are all-inclusive. Making everyone feel valued and excited will no doubt boost your team’s mood. In the same regard, it is also smart to provide each team member with a private room. Company retreats inevitably involve a lot of time spent together, so rather than forcing adults to feel like they’re at a sleep-away camp, the whole team will greatly appreciate you providing them with some individual space to relax.
Once you arrive, we suggest taking advantage of your location. Stagger events so the whole retreat is not held in a hotel conference room. Get out with your team and enjoy the surrounding area and activities. When it comes to dining, providing options is key. Every meal does not have to be an over-the-top gourmet experience, as long as there is variety. One relatively inexpensive and fun meal idea is to take your team to a local food truck or even have it come to you. Also, surveying your team prior to your retreat about any allergies or dietary restrictions is an easy way to make sure everyone’s needs are met.
In order to create a positive experience for every personality type on your business retreat, it is important to offer different types of activities. You should plan a balanced schedule of structured bonding, team-building activities, and unstructured free time. Offering some optional as well as mandatory activities is also a great way to keep everyone feeling engaged and in control of their experience.
Keep in mind that the majority of your retreat activities should be interactive, no one likes being talked at. To avoid boring your team, send out any presentations or HR details pre-retreat. Last, but definitely not least, plan fun events between your more structured meetings and meals. Think outside the box when coming up with experiences for your team to share. Retreat ideas like a cooking class or a music event can make for some great memories.
The Importance of Communication
Well before the retreat date, share all your trip details with everyone attending the event. A great way to get people talking is to send out some email teasers the week leading up to your retreat. Maybe share a bio of a cool speaker you’ve hired for the event or inform the team of any updates to the schedule. Along with sharing all this information digitally, consider sharing a goodie bag with a printed retreat schedule and some other items that may be useful to them on the trip like travel headphones. And don’t stop the communication once the retreat is over, send out a feedback survey to the team to see what people liked and what you can improve for the next business retreat. This easy last step will make your team feel that their input is valued and will give you key insights and ideas for next year.