Does Your Staff Need a Retreat?
Have you heard the word “corporate retreat” and wondered, why do other companies do that? Why would I shell out money for my employees to go on a “vacation?” Don’t I pay them to work? What about everything that won’t get done while we’re all away?
Actually, there’s a lot of benefits to hosting a retreat for your staff. Here are just 6 reasons to throw a corporate retreat:
- To build cooperation and teamwork: Communication improves when we understand each other better. Often people from different departments rarely get the opportunity to talk. Unable to see or understand what other teams or departments actually do, resentment can start to build up when one team feels like they’re the only ones pulling their weight. Throwing a retreat allows these people to come together and share what each of them accomplishes.
- Create interpersonal bonds and unity: Once the walls come down and people are able to relax into the person they are away form the office, your employees get a chance to relate to each other in a way they can’t at the office. This window into each other’s lives can create bonds and a unity on your team that wasn’t there before.
- Connect people from different locations: When you have multiple locations, you can have people on your team who have never actually met. They might speak to each other every day over the phone or email, but never put a face to the voice. After a quick vacation away, suddenly that voice on the other end of the phone is now a friend and comrade.
- Give employees a great a reason to stay: When your employees see that they are treated well and that they are valued, they are more likely to get invested in what they do and less likely to make that jump and leave for better pastures.
- Keep morale up: The day-to-day drudgery can take its toll after awhile and people lose that spark that motivates them, leaving them lethargic and sometimes depressed. Shake things up a bit and give them a reason to reengage in the work they do. Show them that what they do is valued.
- Show appreciation for hard work: If you team has recently gone through a time crunch to meet a deadline it can be a great idea to reward the extra hours and effort put in. Show them that their sacrifice did not go unnoticed.
Planning the Perfect Retreat
Read what other companies have done. Find out what worked and what didn’t. Tailor what they did to fit your goal and team.
Choose the Right Time
A retreat can be a great way to reinvigorate your staff after a drop in morale or to celebrate a huge achievement. A carefully selected retreat can be the perfect way to jumpstart or continue to build momentum and drive in your team.
Pick a Location
Retreats aren’t meant to be spent at the office or any of the usual meeting places. Often, they can involve an overnight stay. Ideally, whether it’s a simple campground or ultra-luxurious 5-star resort, you’ll want to find somewhere peaceful where people can get away from the stress of their jobs.
Plan Some Fun
If you’re going to have a work/meetings element to your retreat, it’s useful to plan those in the mornings and early afternoons and leave the fun activities for the afternoon and evenings. This will boost the productivity of the morning sessions when people know they have something to look forward to in the afternoon/evening.
Ask your participants ahead of time what they like to do and what sort of interests they have. When people feel like they are contributing, they are more likely to take ownership and help make the retreat a success rather than sneering at everything.
Plan “Do-What-You-Want” Time
Be careful not to overplan the retreat. It’s important to ensure that people get a chance to take some time and space for themselves if they need it. This will give them a chance to process, unwind, and decompress. Too much structured together time can make people cranky.
Hand Out the Agenda
Make sure everyone knows what’s coming. People need to know where to go and when. This also gives people a sense of control rather than being aimlessly shuffled from one activity to the next. This is especially effective when people can see that a break or a fun activity is coming. They are more likely to be productive if they know they have a breather coming up. It also gives people who are being pushed outside their comfort zone a chance to mentally prepare for the activity.
If possible, disconnect from your devices
You’ve brought your team on a retreat to connect with each other. That isn’t going to happen if everyone’s looking at their phones. Mealtimes are a great unstructured time when people can generally let their guard down and engage with each other in an informal setting. The last thing you want is to miss out on this opportunity of team building by having everyone disengaged and zoned into their screens.
Ask How it Went
Don’t forget to ask for feedback at the end. Find out what worked and what didn’t. This way you can improve on what you did for next year.
Whether you work in Victoria, BC and you’re looking for a peaceful and serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, or you’re visiting from afar, The Lodge at Weir’s Beach is the ideal place to book a retreat for your team to experience calm and relaxation. Other businesses have had great success holding their corporate retreat at The Lodge:
Thank you for opening your home to us for this retreat. It was an ideal setting to relax, build community, work and find rejuvenation! We hope to see you again in the future!
– Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Check out the accommodations and book The Lodge at Weir’s Beach today!