If you mention a “team retreat” at the office and employees who have survived previous engagements may cringe in disgust. The negative connotations associated with company retreats are difficult to shake and for a good reason. Team events are an opportunity to elevate the staff and organization but often get a bad rap due to poor planning, execution, and misguided intent. When executed correctly, the return on investment is immediate.
StaffScapes, an expert in small business HR outsourcing in Denver, CO, is committed to helping employers create an unforgettable experience for their workforce. By adopting StaffScapes’ proven methods, business owners can rejuvenate their organization’s spirit, deter employee burnout, decrease turnover, strengthen relationships, brainstorm innovative ideas, and tear down cumbersome silos between departments.
Below, StaffScapes reveals the method behind the madness to make your next retreat outstanding.
1. Agenda and Tone
Effective team retreats need a goal. Perhaps company morale is low or intrapersonal conflict is rising due to miscommunication. Whatever the purpose, define it early in writing since it will set the stage for planning and execution. It’s possible to have several objectives, but they all need to be clear, concise, and realistic. Defining intent will also make sure that you’re working within an appropriate scope and budget. From there, draft an agenda encompassing activities that will help achieve your goals. Seek feedback from a planning committee or team managers to ensure it’s relevant to their needs.
You can set your retreat up for success before it even begins. To generate excitement throughout the business, announce an offsite location for the team event. The budget may be a concern, but don’t settle for a venue nearby that’s ultimately bland since whereabouts affect the efficacy of a retreat. Weather permitting, consider the great outdoors to shake things up. Nature can help everyone relax, offers a myriad of team building activities, and, as reported by The Huffington Post, a correlation exists between employee productivity and nature.
3. Fun Teambuilding
Bolster the retreat by ditching the tried icebreakers and team-building exercises. They often feel forced and diminish engagement. Keep it simple, and at the core, strive for everyone to have fun and relax. Plan a variety of activities to suit personality types as well as physical capabilities. Depending on the venue, the management may be equipped with materials to help create the perfect atmosphere. Competitions can bring out the best and worst of us, but creative tournaments can improve communication and allow an individual to flex their leadership skills.
Perhaps most importantly, feed your team. Remember, an army marches on its stomach, and employees will require extra fuel to participate in the retreat at max capacity. Meals and cooking can even foster team-building.
The best companies struggle with transparency and accountability, even those that embrace an open-door policy. Retreats stimulate an environment where employees can feel comfortable sharing constructive feedback without the formal atmosphere of work. A roundtable discussion infused with honesty and trust, partially due to the team-building activities, is perhaps the most relevant aspect of the retreat. Sharing can identify issues within the organization but also provide solutions. If nothing else, it provides a haven to clear the air, allowing everyone to return to work with a clean slate.
For generations, small businesses have served as the backbone of the American economy by creating employment opportunities on a national and local scale. Within that purview, each owner can provide a transformative retreat regardless of budget. Focus on balance as you troubleshoot and revise your goals and expectations accordingly. Not every activity will receive a round of authentic applause, nor will each employee provide sincere feedback. Plan well, hope for the most ideal outcome, but don’t be discouraged by any hiccups that occur.