Whether your objective is to improve communication, problem solving, or purely as a reward, engaging in offsite team building retreats can be beneficial in many ways. In order to obtain those positive results, a team building retreat requires more than simply booking and attending the retreat.
Weighing in on the topic is our Managing Director/Co-Founder, Jered Cherry. As someone with over a decade of experience in experiential learning and bringing teams together, some might say he’s quite knowledgeable on the topic. Jered has committed himself to helping organizations further educate and unite their group through outdoor education, company retreats, and team building programs.
Through his many years of hands-on experience, Jered has identified what does and doesn’t work when attempting to achieve a successful retreat. Here are a few of his suggestions as to what will make or break your time:
Do’s of Planning Your Team Building Retreat
1) Create a formal plan: Establish what it is you hope to accomplish through your retreat by listing out your objectives. This will help serve as a foundation to build off of when formulating your retreat itinerary.
2) Plan in advance: Make sure to plan at least three to six months in advance in order to secure reservations for your preferred time frame. As they say, the early bird gets the worm.
3) Hold your retreat on weekdays: In most cases, the usual work week is Monday through Friday. Therefore, if you plan your retreat during that span of time, there’s a higher likelihood your employees will want to attend.
4) Create a balance: There’s a lot you’ll be attempting to incorporate into those short couple days, try not to let one aspect dominate the rest. There should be an even balance between fun and social time, education and leadership development, and business strategy.
Don’ts of Planning Your Team Building Retreat
1) Don’t – Underestimate the amount of time and effort required: If you want your retreat to be successful, it will need to be well thought out. Make sure to allot enough time to handle itinerary creation, accommodation sourcing, logistics, coordination and any other pre-work required to make it a high-impact experience.
2) Don’t – Build your budget before understanding all the costs: There are a lot of hidden costs associated with an offsite trip such as transportation (flights, charter buses, rental vehicles), alcohol, meals, activities, value of the time spent researching and sourcing, venue taxes, service fees, catering fees, etc… Avoid being hasty when creating your budget or else you’ll run into financial roadblocks later down the road.
3) Don’t – Forget to gather input from all stakeholders: Your stakeholders are heavily affected by your business and invested in your growth so it’s vital to pay respect to their opinions. Send out a pre-retreat survey or hold a meeting in order to take their perspectives into consideration when planning the retreat and its objectives.
4) Don’t – Be too rigid: While it is important to have a schedule and focus upon your objectives, make sure to allow room for flexibility. One topic may require added attention to achieve the intended outcome, a rigid schedule can lead to unnecessary stress!
Every corporate retreat is unique, but the guidelines for creating one rarely differ. Make sure your company gathering is a success by keeping this checklist in mind when planning your next team building retreat.