In the age of the remote worker, it’s probably no exaggeration to say that corporate retreats have taken on new levels of importance. In the past, when you wanted to get to know your coworkers a bit better, you met for a mint mocha at the local coffee shop for a chat after work.
7 Things to Keep in Mind When Planning a Company Retreat
Nowadays, with remote teams being stretched from one side of the globe to another, the in-person mint mocha meetup isn’t so easy to finagle.
However, the value of getting to know your coworkers hasn’t gone down. If anything, the reverse is true.
So much of creating an effective work environment has to do with how well a company’s employees know each other. What the after-work, mint-mocha meetup used to do has been replaced by the company retreat.
And these mint mocha replacements typically involve seven key considerations.
1. Get Team Input
You’ll encourage more excitement about the retreat if each member plays a role in its planning. In traditional planning models, hybrid/remote team meetups follow a top-down approach.
While some of this is necessary, it also sets the tone for the event to follow. In other words, how can you ask your team members to actively participate in your company retreat once they’re there if they had no hand in it during the planning stages?
Before you dive deep into the planning of your event, send out an email to your remote workers, new employees, and seasoned team members, asking them:
- The types of activities they like to do at corporate retreats
- If they’ve ever been to a company retreat and if so, what made it memorable
- Ideas that they have for company production ideation and how that might be dealt with during the retreat
- Who’d they’d like to get to know better once they’re there
2. Plan in Advance
For your employees who may always feel like they’re on a tight deadline, a last-minute heads-up about an off-site retreat probably won’t be very welcome news, even if you have a lot of fun activities planned. People need time to schedule housesitters and pet sitters, have their mail held, work out childcare duties, and more.
3. Provide Get-to-Know-Me Opportunities
If your team members don’t work in a central office, it’s important that they have a chance to get to know the more senior members of the company. AMAs (Ask Me Anything) sessions with the executives of your company give them an opportunity to get to know the CEO, the CIO, and more.
While company annual planning may be on your agenda, it’s important to allow people the chance to get to know the people they’re working for. Employees who feel more of a personal connection between themselves and their higher-ups bring more passion and enthusiasm to the job. Such activities make the events feel less corporate and more personal.
4. Send Out an Itinerary
It isn’t unusual for people to not know what’s on the agenda for a corporate retreat until they get there. They don’t know what will be discussed, who they’ll be working with, or what their schedule will be like.
However, if you want your employees to bring their “A” game to the retreat, it’s good to send out an itinerary. Mentally, it allows them to get their ducks in a row because they can do some advanced planning.
5. Allow People to Take an Active Part in the Event
If you’d like your employees to take turns leading breakout sessions, it’s important to let them know that ahead of the event. You’ll also want to tell them how you’d like them to participate and then plan on checking in with them in the days before you leave for the event to see how their presentations are coming along.
On a related note, if you’re asking them to lecture, it’s a good idea to work with the venue to get A/V equipment set up so that they can plug in their computers and work with slides, videos, and other teaching tools once they’re at the company retreat.
6. Create Some Swag
People love swag. Aside from the fact that getting items like stickers, mugs, and T-shirts is just plain fun, swag gifts can make people feel like a part of the team because everyone will be wearing similar T-shirts and drinking from the same kind of mug.
If you work with a lot of remote employees, they may feel disconnected from their coworkers. As simple as it may seem, seeing everyone wearing the same branded items can make them feel less isolated.
7. Choose the Right Venue
The amount of benefit your group gets out of your event is often directly proportionate to where the event is being held. If you’re planning on keeping your employees for up to a week, it’s important to find a venue that offers you both a solid work environment and a solid play environment.
Remember the mint mocha we talked about? It’s the chats over a cup of coffee while sitting around the firepit or a mean game of golf on a Sunday morning that really builds relationships between people. This, in turn, allows everyone to get to know the strengths of each of their team members, something that is infinitely useful come crunch time on a big project.
In light of that, you may find it helpful to book a venue that offers activities like:
- A variety of restaurants where people can take meals together
- Golf activities
- Spa and massage facilities
- Gameplay, like tennis and bocce
- Hiking and biking opportunities
- Horseback riding lessons
- Chances for stargazing
- And more…
Final Thoughts on Planning the Perfect Company Retreat
The best company retreats include energizing work sessions along with fun after-hours play activities. Great retreat venues allow for both.
If you’d like to book a corporate retreat for your crew, reach out to us. We’d love to help you plan your perfect event!