Nearly everyone has been to a company retreat at a Big Box hotel. Usually, this type of corporate retreat entails long days sitting at even longer banquet tables listening to even longer speeches. And if you do get food at this sort of company retreat, it’s vending machine gourmet washed down with aged coffee. (Coffee does not age in the same way that a fine wine does, speaking from experience…)
Here’s the challenge. Your employees have probably been to corporate events like this, too, and often, such events only leave them feeling uninspired and exhausted. It isn’t that hybrid/remote team meetups are inherently unexciting. The unexciting part often comes due to shortcomings in planning.
But Is It Worth It to Have a Company Retreat?
Here’s another challenge. Company bosses often feel reluctant to plan off-site company retreats because of the expense and because they’re concerned that the ROI for such events doesn’t justify the trip.
If that’s why you’ve put off planning events for your company employees, the following stats will probably interest you.
According to TravelPerk.com,
- Employees – to the tune of two-thirds of them – feel it’s more difficult, if not impossible, to forge professional relationships virtually – (Your company production ideation probably suffers because of this)
- Despite the proliferation of communication technologies like Zoom, nearly half of all business travelers take business trips because they need to meet up with colleagues
- At least one quarter of employees feel a loss of connection with their coworkers, due to being remote
- And nearly three-quarters of corporate employees feel that face-to-face connections build more solid relationships and communication between team members
Based on those stats, it’s probably safe to say that planning events for your hybrid remote team is not only in your company’s best interest, they’re in your employees’ best interest, too.
Up the Enjoyment Factor: Company Retreat Tips to Mix It Up
That said, it’s still important to address the tired stereotype that sometimes comes with corporate retreats. If you chuckled at our description at the outset of this blog, then chances are you understand that there is some truth to the stereotype.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your company’s annual planning events can be filled with enjoyment, creativity, innovation, and even true gourmet food.
The trick lies in creating an event that’s tailor-made to your team. This requires planning and checking in with all your employees to get a feel for what inspires them to do their best work. While this involves a great deal of time, the results will likely speak for themselves.
Your business will enjoy an uptick in productivity. Your employees, particularly your remote and new employees, won’t feel so isolated because they will have a chance to create connections with coworkers – something that has been missing for many due to the restrictions brought on by the pandemic.
Company Retreat Tips: How Do I Plan More Tailor-Made Events?
This section is designed to give you some ideas for creating a personalized company event that’s short on the generic and long on innovation and engagement.
Book a Great Facility
Most companies hold their company events at big hotels because big hotels have the space to accommodate big destination events.
These event facilities also have important meeting supports like
- Audiovisual equipment, including microphones and speakers
- Laptop and tablet connections
- Big screen TVs
- Seating for a large number of people
- Side areas for breakout sessions
- Break areas
All of these supports are critical for the success of your meeting, but what if you could find a facility that not only gives you all of these amenities, but also other amenities? Your meeting would certainly be less generic.
Imagine having a meeting space with a kitchen where people could heat up snacks at their leisure and a patio area that overlooks a wide expanse of green as far as the eye can see.
Such a facility turns the same ol’, same ol’ company retreat into something special and allows you to get the most value out of your meeting venue.
Have a Walking, Golfing, or Floating Meeting
The fact that most destination retreats take place in a hotel doesn’t mean that all of the meetings need to take place in the hotel. Booking a site that has abundant walking trails, a golf course, or even pedal boats allows you to send your breakout sessions out into the great outdoors.
This isn’t as crazy as it sounds. According to Psychology Today, a change of environment sparks creativity because “our brains can be made more receptive to creativity by manipulating our environment.”
New ideas arise from the interconnection of a person’s old ideas, particularly when they’re combined with new and novel stimuli. Being relaxed also helps new ideas come forth. So, if your team is at a creative impasse during a breakout session, getting out and playing may just end the creative log jam.
Entice Them With Great Food and After-Hours Activities
It can be tempting to try to get as much done as possible during your retreat. However, too much work will deplete your team’s creative juices.
Additionally, all work and no play also doesn’t leave much time for your team members to get to know each other better. While they’ll have some opportunities to chat during breakout sessions, they won’t build the in-depth relationships that so many workers feel they’re missing today.
That’s where a site that offers after-hours recreation can help. There’s a reason that so many diplomatic meetings take advantage of the wonders of culinary diplomacy. People relax around tasty food and drink.
So, instead of planning another after-hours work session, think about treating your employees to events like a Southern mint tea tasting or a Taste Master’s weekend, followed by some great live music.
Final Thoughts on Putting the “Treat” in Your Company Retreat
In these post-COVID times, your company retreat can have a huge impact on the morale of your employees and boost your bottom line as well. The trick to creating a retreat that gets your team members engaged is to create an event that goes beyond the generic and meets your team members where they’re at. These types of destination events leave room for fun and connection, which modern employees need.
If you’d like to learn more about how to create the perfect destination corporate retreat, contact us today for a proposal!