How to Ensure No One Leaves Thinking their Time was Wasted
Retreats are a great way to generate excitement and wake people out of the autopilot we all find ourselves in from time to time.
When you throw a corporate retreat or company workshop, you have the opportunity to engage people that may not normally come into contact with each other. For example, people from different departments might get a rare chance to interact. These occasions can give them a chance to network and build new relationships. As well, they will hear different perspectives on familiar problems as you brainstorm as a group.
Ultimately, the cost of a disenfranchised work force is much greater than throwing a corporate retreat and the benefits will continue to surprise you long after.
1. Define the Objective
No one likes to waste their time or money so make sure you define your goals. What do you hope the participants will get out of the retreat? Are you teaching concrete skills, delivering information, or team building? Perhaps you want to host a retreat to get away from the office and into a new environment to generate new ideas, solve a problem your team/business is facing, or develop your team’s next steps as you continue to grow.
Once you set your objective, then you can best choose who you want to attend, what style of activity you want to incorporate, and what venue will work best for your goals.
2. Decide Who Will Attend and Determine the Needs of the Retreat
Your objectives for the retreat should determine who you plan to invite. Do you need to give information to all of your employees or gather your top executives to brainstorm?
Once you decide who is going to attend, then you can tailor your retreat to their needs and abilities. If your purpose is to train, then at what level are your participants? What level do you hope they will achieve by the end of the retreat? What is their learning pace? The more you gear it towards the people attending, the more effective it will be.
3. Choose the Dates
Make sure that you give yourself adequate time to plan and prepare, but not so long that the information/training is no longer valid. If you are brainstorming ideas to overcome product defects, growing customer complaints, or dissatisfied employees who keep leaving, time may be of the essence.
You’ll also want to ask yourself, if you are training, when does it need to be completed? When are participants available? When are facilities available?
4. Select the Perfect Venue
When it comes to selecting the venue, you need to make sure you have considered a number of variables beforehand. For example, how many people are coming? Will everyone be able to reach the venue? If people are coming from far away, is there a place to provide accommodations nearby? What sort of food venues are nearby? Is there a kitchen you can use? Consider the location and affordability.
It is also important to consider the venue itself. No one wants to be cramped into a stuffy, window-less room all day. Look for a place that offers relaxing views and great spaces to take breaks. A relaxed atmosphere will allow for better learning and retention.
5. Plan Ahead
One of the most important things you can do to guarantee your success is to plan ahead. Start by creating an outline for your presentation. Once you know what your main goal is and who will attend, you can plan the most appropriate method to present your material.
One of the best ways to ensure you make the information memorable is to encourage active participation. If your group is small, set up the room to facilitate full participation. For example, rather than rows, where many people are turned away or facing someone’s back, try to arrange the chairs in a horseshoe shape.
If you have a larger crowd, think about areas where people can break off into smaller groups. It’s best if people from different departments are together to encourage a diversity of perspectives.
Once you’ve decided the activities you plan to have, go through your schedule and estimate how long you think each portion will take. Don’t forget to add some buffer time just in case things run over. You can always let people go home a few minutes early if it turns out you didn’t need the extra time. People tend to be much more forgiving when they are let out early as opposed to being required to stay later.
The only way you’ll know if your retreat achieved your goals is to follow up! There are a few ways you can to do this:
- Ensure that participants understood what they learned and help them retain the information. Get them to summarize the main points at the end and be sure to ask for any questions.
- Save room at the end to hand out a questionnaire asking for opinions and input. Try not to take any criticisms personally; rather, choose to learn from their comments and get better for next time.
- If decisions were made during this retreat, make sure you keep the participants informed of the results of any action steps put into place. People need to know that their hard work was valued and appreciated.
The Lodge at Weir’s Beach
As you plan your corporate retreat, consider the Lodge at Weir’s Beach. Located just 30 minutes from downtown Victoria, it is in the midst of a picturesque, oceanfront setting in rural Metchosin. You can book the meeting room or the entire lodge. There is wireless high-speed internet access available. As well, The Lodge offers catered breakfasts on request.
If you’re looking for the perfect place to ensure your participants are in a great frame of mind, the Lodge at Weir’s Beach is ideal.
Book a Corporate Retreat Today!