Playing with your team: The value of company retreats

May 29, 2012
Playing with your team: The value of company retreats

Its summertime and you and your staff are getting restless. It’s warm and sunny outside, and productivity is dropping. Enter the company retreat. Company retreats are all about a change of scenery to get your organization re-energized. Corporate retreats improve the management team’s overall strategy and help build relationships between employees. Although it seems counterintuitive to send your employees to a resort or a mountain cabin, it’s one of the best investments you can make.

Over the course of the retreat, you can work on problem solving, visioning, creative exploration, and setting priorities. When planning your agenda, these seemingly dry activities can happen while white-water rafting or through a cooking class. Retreats are also an opportunity to reward and acknowledge remarkable work or loyalty from employees.

Maximize employee engagement with a well-planned session. From an employee perspective, it can be uninviting to spend time with colleagues outside of 9-5, and for employers, poorly executed retreats that don’t improve employee morale, give these getaways a bad rap. Where possible, hire a facilitator to create effective team-building sessions. An outsider can help to open up conversations and introduce new perspectives to old problems from a neutral perspective.

Your facilitator—and you—need to know your goals to use staff time in a way everyone can be happy with. Be specific about what you want to accomplish by the end of the trip—which departments and people will be involved? Knowing this will focus your activities and discussions during the trip.

The company retreat not only keeps your team together, but can also be a benefit you can advertise to potential employees. Think if every one of your employees told their network about the fantastic annual retreats. Think of the talent you would attract!

Make sure to document retreats so employees can look forward to seeing the photos, and so you can show off your collaborative company culture. 

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