Anyone who ever grew up playing marbles knows the scenario. You position your marbles in a kind of circular configuration and then, using your thumb as a kind of peashooter, you flick a Jupiter-sized shooter marble into the crowd of moon-sized marbles. If you’re any good at the game, marbles disperse wildly, with some even getting tossed outside the circle, garnering you points and planetary domination.
Surprising as it may seem, for some employees, being expected to attend one of your company retreats can feel a little like being marbles in the middle of the game. Even though that’s not the effect your company meeting planner intended, it’s often the effect, largely due to poor communication regarding the event and a lack of connection between management and employees.
The Benefits Of Corporate Events For Your Hybrid Remote Team
In the space of only a couple of years, hybrid/remote team meetups went from being the outlier experience to being front and center of corporate life. In light of this, it’s more important than ever when you’re doing your company annual planning to recognize this reality and to plan for it. Where meetings about company production ideation once took place in the conference room down the hall, they now take place via email and Zoom.
What is missed in these meetings is the sometimes spontaneous brainstorms that happen when project team members just so happen to be getting coffee in the breakroom (or wherever) at the same time. Creative problem-solving requires more fluidity than Zoom meetings alone inspire because creativity is an unruly player, often striking more often on a coffee break or on an evening dog walk. Out of desperation, many company bosses have looked to offsite company retreats to give some of that coffee break inspiration time to start percolating once again.
Another benefit of company retreats that gets overlooked is the cost savings. Many company bosses assume that company retreats cost too much, so they don’t have them. However, to facilitate work on group projects, many companies will send one or two people to various locations to work. Those trips often get scheduled at the 11th hour. As such, they often cost more per person in the long run because of it.
On the other hand, many corporate retreat venues offer big discounts on lodging, food, and other retreat necessities that save companies money in the long run.
Making Your Corporate Retreats Happen
Why Everyone Should Be Involved With Planning
It’s worth noting that it isn’t just the “moon-sized marble” employees who feel displaced by company retreats. Sometimes, the peashooter with her/ his Jupiter-sized marble feels the effects of it, too.
Much of the time, it’s the company’s office manager or the executive assistant to the VP that plans these events, and she/ he does so at the bidding of higher-ups and often to the detriment of her/ his other work. Because of this, the planning of the company retreat gets put off – sometimes, indefinitely – because it takes a backseat to more pressing daily pressures and deadlines.
To ensure that your corporate retreat takes place, it’s important to involve more than just your office manager or executive assistant. Your whole team can and should have input on the matter.
Going this route helps you to accomplish a number of goals:
- It takes the stress off the planner.
- It encourages everyone on your team, no matter how remote, to become stakeholders in the process. It’s easier to get people to play along at your retreat when they’re actually participating in activities that they thought up. There is a danger when only one person has input. All of the activities appeal to the planner. They may only “accidentally” appeal to everyone else.
- If you need to have site visits to narrow down the location, you may have a remote team member who lives near the possible site.
- Most importantly, it keeps everyone accountable, ensuring that the company retreat takes place.
Practical Steps for Company Retreat Planning
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of having a retreat and the reasons why you should have one, it’s now time to talk about the more practical steps in retreat planning – that is, how you guarantee, short of carving it in marble, that it happens.
Over the course of time, we’ve noticed that most companies take one or more of the following steps when they plan a corporporate event.
Set a Realistic Budget and Decide on an Appropriate Venue
Do yourself a favor and plan both of these aspects together as much as possible. It’s nearly impossible to think of one without considering the other.
If you’re not sure how to handle this, ask yourself questions like “What do I want to accomplish at this retreat?” and then answer them. For example,
- To give my employees lots of personal time to allow them to get to know the remote team?
- To do our company annual planning activities for next year?
- To do team-building exercises to help our teams to better work together on projects?
- All of the above?
- Where can I do all of these things on budget?
Give Your Team Enough Time To Rearrange Their Schedules
Everyone on your team has a life outside of work. The soccer moms have 4:00 p.m. soccer game every other Wednesday. A key member of your web design team takes a painting and drawing class twice a week. Another helps his adult siblings take care of his aging parents and may be “on call” the week you want to have your company retreat.
You’ll get a better showing and more enthusiasm for your company event if you give your team six to eight months to put things in order. You wouldn’t expect to plan and execute a big destination wedding in the space of two weeks. There are too many moving parts. The same can be said for a big company retreat.
Aside from all of that, if you book a big location, like Pursell Farms, the venue needs time to clear its schedule. We need time to ensure that:
- We don’t double-book the golf course so that your team can play
- We have scheduled your morning yoga class right after the team ideation planning meeting so that everyone can blow off steam
- The Bocce field and murder mystery events are ready for your team-building event
- The Arrington is stocked with farm-fresh vegetables and locally-sourced steaks for your evening dinner
- Your meeting space, including all the AV equipment, stands at the ready
The more time you give your team and your venue of choice, the better chance you have at planning a solid retreat, and the less likely your event will feel like just another game of corporate marbles.
Why Choose Pursell Farms as Your Retreat Location
If you’re in the planning stages for your company retreat and feel a bit stuck, why not reach out to us? We’ve spent many years helping people plan the perfect company events that offer their companies big ROI and great memories to boot.